Businessman Philani Mavundla joins the crowd in applauding as President Jacob Zuma officially opens the Mavundla Square Shopping Mall in Greytown on Saturday. Picture: Siyabulela Duda
Businessman Philani Mavundla joins the crowd in applauding as President Jacob Zuma officially opens the Mavundla Square Shopping Mall in Greytown on Saturday. Picture: Siyabulela Duda

I’ll build Nkandla mall – Zuma

By Bongani Hans Time of article published Jun 22, 2015

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Durban - President Jacob Zuma’s multimillion-rand homestead at Nkandla was just the beginning of his big plans for the area.

Zuma said the Nkandla development, which was taking place at a piece of land close to his homestead, was ongoing, but the next big thing on his agenda would be the building of a mall, to be known as “Zuma Square”.

The president said he would build the mall after retiring from running the country and his other political commitments.

Zuma made his dream known on Saturday, during the opening of Mavundla Square in Greytown, the first mall in the town. The shopping centre is entirely owned by black business people.

“When I retire I want to build my own mall and name it Zuma Square in Nkandla town. Definitely I will build it,” said Zuma.

He said the new mall, built by his businessman friend Philani Mavundla, was the fulfilment of a dream which he first introduced to a number of businessmen during a breakfast meeting a few years ago.

Zuma has a special connection to Greytown as one of his ancestors, Mantomela, lived in the town, specifically on the piece of land where the mall is built.

“Mantomela is buried here. Please take care of him. When you do your shopping please do not disturb him from his sleep. This is my home,” said Zuma.

The arrival of the president in Greytown saw locals falling over themselves in their eagerness to meet him and possibly shake his hand. They were treated to a free KFC meal after the event, while VIPs were invited to Mavundla’s double-storey house for a banquet.

Before opening the mall Zuma visited the nearby Matimatolo village to open a crèche which Mavundla had also built for the community.

Speaking off the cuff in his mother tongue, Zuma kept the crowds, who were packed into a white marquee erected on the roof of the mall, laughing at his quips.

Unusually, his sense of humour extended to journalists and he shook hands with each of them as he joked

that he would one day walk into the new mall to do window shopping at fashion shops, but would not buy “because I don’t have money”.

The multimillion-rand shopping centre has a Shoprite supermarket and a variety of fashion outlets, furniture shops and food offerings.

“During my visit to a business breakfast here in Greytown I asked businesspeople to consider building a mall here in Greytown and help to expand the town,” said Zuma.

“I was concerned that Greytown people earn money, but they don’t spend the money in Greytown.

“Their money just comes to Greytown to be blessed by the ancestors, then immediately leaves for cities like Pietermaritzburg,” he said.

Zuma said the town had a great history of politics, which dated back to the colonial era, when political offenders were prosecuted in the town. “Even King Dinuzulu was sentenced here. This history of this town is important,” he said.

 

Mavundla is one of the businessmen who had apparently volunteered to raise funds in order to pay back the money that was spent on non-security measures at Zuma’s Nkandla home.

When asked for an update on their plans to help the president, Mavundla said Public Protector Thuli Madonsela “no longer wants to take the money”.

“The only thing she wants is to fight Zuma. She is just rude,” he said. Mavundla declined to say how much had been raised to date.

The Mercury

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