‘Silent rise’ of gambling house

2017-02-09 06:01
=Builders are seen at the premises in Union Avenue, Uitenhage, since the beginning of the year, but no notice boards are erected signifying what is being built. Photo: Werner Hills

=Builders are seen at the premises in Union Avenue, Uitenhage, since the beginning of the year, but no notice boards are erected signifying what is being built. Photo: Werner Hills

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“Parents question the construction of, as rumour has it, a gambling house close to the school. This site surely had to be rezoned and council had to approve it. How is it that councillors can not provide us with answers?”

This is the view of Nico Heath, principal of Albertyn Primary School.

A meeting was scheduled for last Friday by Ward Councillor Tyrone Adams with Mondé Vaaltyn, a facilitator, Heath, and the developer. Only Heath came to the meeting.

Five years ago, a developing company Elatiprox Pty. Ltd. through its spokesperson Darell Willemse announced the development of an approximately 30 000m² East Cape Mall next to Union Avenue. It initially sounded promising, but nothing came of it. At the beginning of the new year, earth moving equipment started working at the site.

“We all know of the initial plan of a shopping mall, which never happened, but what-ever is being built now will have an impact on the immediate surroundings, its community and the school,” said Heath.

Councillor Pieter Terblanche said “from what I’ve heard it is the first phase of the construction of an approximately 1 000 m² gambling house.”

Vaaltyn did not want to reveal the identity of the developer, but he confirmed that it was true that a gambling house was being built. Chris Botha of Dekon Projects, who is apparently the foreman at the building site, refused to comment or to reveal any information regarding the owner of the development. Adams also said that he had no information on the owner.

Ashok Panchal of the Orient Group and a businessman of Uitenhage said he had also not received notice of the new development.

“Generally, notices of this kind of development are sent out. I am surprised and worried about the mysterious development.”

Louise Langner, chairperson of the management board of Aandmymering old age home said, “We did not receive any notice regarding the development. Our biggest concern is traffic. Otherwise the uncertainty, as we do not know what to expect and what the impact of the development might be.”

In the meantime, an advertisement for a branch manager of a Galaxy Bingo and Entertainment branch in Uitenhage appeared in a local newspaper.

According to an employee at a Galaxy Bingo branch in Port Elizabeth, Charlton Kemridge, the Galaxy Bingo manager in Port Elizabeth is certainly involved in the development of the gambling house in Uitenhage.

Kemridge was not available for comment.

Mthubanzi Mniki, municipal spokesperson, did not comment on the enquiries regarding the development.

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