Pretoria - The process of rebuilding the Solomon Mahlangu Square heritage site and the related development of the Mamelodi economy has officially begun with the signing of the pledge by local businesses.
Businesses operating in and around Mamelodi led by the SA Day initiative have pledged their support to begin the work that was needed to uplift the township and assist with bringing the vision of a successful and sustainable township economy to life.
Dr Bheki Shongwe, SA Day chief executive, said that following the donation of a car and request by Ford SA to help rebuild Mamelodi and other townships they had gathered a few stakeholders to join in on the vision of a thriving township economy starting with revitalising crucial key points in the area such as the heritage site.
Shongwe said SA Day had been running since 2015 as a nation and community building initiative and platform founded by different businesses to attract others to help with the various projects that they would need to embark on to benefit communities.
He said they had brought the businesses to the Solomon Mahlangu Square to give them an idea of what would be needed for the heritage site to be restored and made better than before.
“We know things like the lights, water system, and shelters need to be repainted; the landscaping is no longer working and we want to see what work has to be done here.
The individual companies we’ve roped in will see how they can chip in as best as they can.
“We hope to attract more businesses to come to make an investment and contribution in kind, and not necessarily to give money.
“At the end of the day, we want the businesses themselves to commit to doing their bit using their resources and their people for the benefit of the community they operate in.”
Shongwe said although a lot of work would have to be done, while taking into consideration the upcoming elections and the Covid-19 pandemic, they hoped the restoration process would be complete by May or at the latest June next year.
Tshwane MMC for New Economic Development and Spatial Planning, Bruce Lee, said they welcomed the challenge to develop the township economy and it was something the City would be prioritising.
Lee said they believed through tourism the city could capitalise on the local economy as external people would be brought in and bring new money to benefit the townships.
“We need to bring external funding. But we need to start off by making it a place that can attract external people and acknowledging the sacrifices made by Struggle stalwarts whose own contribution enabled people like myself to stand for office.”