Durban - Township residents are expected to reap the economic benefits of a mall currently being built in the Newlands West area, a stone’s throw away from the “GO!Durban” transport system.
Midway Crossing Shopping Centre is the eThekwini Municipality’s response to the call by President Cyril Ramaphosa to attract investment, especially in townships and rural areas.
Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda inspected the construction of the mall, an even which beneficiaries and trustees also attended.
Kaunda said the mall would change the lives of people living in Lindelani, Ntuzuma, KwaMashu, Newlands East, Newlands West and surrounding areas.
The mall will include Sizakala Centres, a library, and it will assist in the development of roads, water lines and electricity.
“We have invested more than R360million, as a city, for this project that also entails the development of the public transport facility GO!Durban. We’re working together with the private sector that has invested more than R460m in the project,” Kaunda said.
He said they had employed more than 280 people at this stage.
Black businesses will own 45% of the mall, while 5% will be owned by the Dumisani Makhaye Community Trust.
Kaunda said another assessment would be conducted next month and anticipated the project would be completed by March or April 2021.
Trustee and beneficiary Zama Msomi-Dunga, who also represented people living with disabilities, said she would ensure that people living with disabilities got jobs at the mall.
Construction of the mall officially commenced last year and once complete, it will have facilities including 66 shops, 18 trading kiosks, a Sizakala Centre and Municipal services centres including a library as well as a clinic.
“We need to ensure that informal businesses also participate because bringing malls into townships does not mean we must kill small businesses that were already in operation,” said Kaunda.
The Go! Durban rapid transport system, which Kaunda emphasised will be taking off soon after finalising some outstanding issues, will also be integrated into the Shopping Centre, creating an easy and safe access for communities.
Developer Carlos Correia said even though they have had various challenges including the recent heavy rains that delayed their work schedule, they are still confident that the development will be complete by Easter time next year.
The Richmond Farm resident said that at present, her company was involved in building the mall.
She encouraged locals to attend meetings in their respective wards, because often people protested because they sat at home - unaware of what was happening around them, such as upcoming projects.
Queen Ngcobo is on the business desk representing women and is also a beneficiary.
“Since this is our mall and we will be buying from it, we need to be provided for as residents of this area,” Ngcobo said.