The Khayelitsha Development Forum has welcomed the development of a R250-million shopping mall that is to adjoin a railway station and accommodate big and small businesses.

The brainchild of Khayelitsha developer Jali Bakoro, the Nonqubela Link Mall is to offer shoppers a complex similar to the Vangate Mall in Athlone and Liberty Promenade in Mitchells Plain.

"We are very excited. Other shopping complexes in Khayelitsha fall short of what can be seen elsewhere," Khayelitsha Development Forum chairman Zamayedwua Sogayise said.

"What we like most about this Nonqubela Link Mall is that tenancy is provided for big retailers, medium-sized business and small vendors. We like the concept of integration.

"Also, the mall is close to the day hospital and municipal offices."

Sogayise said that unlike the Khayelitsha Mall, the complex - being built adjoining the Nonqubela railway station - would be fully enclosed.

"Many people complain about the Khayelitsha Mall being open, too small," Sogayise said.

"I would not be surprised if, when this complex is finished, the Khayelitsha Mall is upgraded. This will bring a new dimension for developments here."

Bakoro said about 400 jobs would be created during construction and 800 more when the project was completed and businesses took occupation.

The mall would be 30 000m2 and include a fashion court, big stores and banks.

"Part of the train station is inside. Residents will no longer have to travel to Bellville or Mitchells Plain if they want to shop, meet or sit down for coffee or a meal," Bakoro said.

"This mall will offer them a (place) to socialise in the way people do at Cavendish Square. It will also help eradicate a perception that Khayelitsha is a dysfunctional community."

Bakoro said completion of the mall was expected in November.

"Khayelitsha is not regarded as attractive to investors," he said.

"There are security problems, but they are not insurmountable. Once we start giving the community more of these projects, the people of Khayelitsha can take some pride in their area."

Former city councillor Masizole Mnqasela said the development would be a catalyst for investments in Khayelitsha, stimulating economic growth.

"Economic growth will result in job creation," he said

"In Khayelitsha there is an unemployment rate of about 40 percent and poverty is rife. This project is good news because our community does not have quality facilities. I'm pleased to see there is someone committed to his community."

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