A Zeerust business forum in the North West wants the construction of a shopping mall in the town to be halted, saying it won’t benefit the community.
Zeerust is a small town between Mahikeng and Rustenburg. Its economy is predominantly driven by retail businesses and farming.
The 17 000 square metre Autumn Leaf Mall – a first for this small town – is expected to boost the town’s economy. But the Ramotshere Moiloa Business Forum has raised some concerns. Among them, is the future of informal traders.
“Firstly there was no public participation and also we are concerned about the hawkers on the street to say where are they going to sell their vegetables. What is their plan for those people? Secondly, we have requested since 2019 for the developer to make available the scope of the project and bill of the quantities. Out of that, we are going to make sure that we prepare our entrepreneurs and source funding for them so that they are able to participate,” says the forum’s Snega Konyana.
The municipality says due process was followed, including public participation. It also says no public funds are involved in the R400 million business initiative, which is expected to create more than 2 000 jobs.
“On the 16th of February, we had public participation where we called all the business people – SMMEs in Ramotshere Moiloa Municipality, and then we invited the developers to come and tell me the SMMEs about the chances of them benefiting in the municipality. The hawkers know that in the mall, which we are building now, there is going to be a place for them to sell. We are going to even have a drop-off taxi zone where we are going to have a mini taxi rank,” says the municipality’s Alfred Nyamane.
Residents are looking forward to a new shopping experience.
“They’ll be helping because Zeerust is small and there are too many people so shops get full. We’ll be happy,” says one resident.
“They’ll be helping us get jobs, we’ll be happy,” adds another.
“We’ll be happy because shopping will be quick. Shops get full now,” says another community member.
The Autumn Leaf Mall is expected to open in March next year.
Source: SABC News (sabcnews.com)