Controversy builds around Soweto mall

Posted On Wednesday, 25 September 2013 11:53 Published by Commercial Property News
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Gauteng premier Nomvula Mokonyane snubbed an invitation to the unveiling of a multimillion-rand mall in Meadowlands, Soweto, on Monday.

A Sowetan visit to Ndofaya Mall revealed that the shopping centre was incomplete.

But her spokesman, Thebe Mohatle, denied this was the reason for her not honouring her invite.

“It’s not about the fact that it’s not complete; the premier had other commitments,” he said.

Johannesburg mayor Parks Tau attended, despite the glaring construction work that still needed to be wrapped up.

He told Sowetan he was there as per arrangement with the developers, who had asked that he officially unveil the mall, which opened to the public yesterday. While residents complained of being denied jobs, Tau said an agreement with the private developers Ndofaya Mall Investments, was that only 30% of the locals would be hired, and the rest would be outsiders.

“The development can only create a set number of jobs; it can’t create jobs for every single person. Of course there are people not employed by the facility, but the facility is there.”

A partner in Ndofaya Mall Investments, Paul Gobetz, estimated the cost of the mall to be about R4-million. It would create jobs for 200 construction workers and 200 staffers inside the mall.

Gobetz could not say when construction would be completed, citing “nature” as the reason for the delays.

Tau would not comment on problems surrounding the development.

These include a complaint to the Public Protector about the irregular employment of some individuals who are close to the ward 41 councillor Siphiwe Mbongo, who himself is alleged to have benefited financially.

Another complaint is about the nature of Mbongo’s hiring and later firing of a community liason officer, whose job was to appoint local companies and keep the community abreast of developments.

Mbongo could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Disgruntled residents protested on Monday, and were led by the local members of the Economic Freedom Fighters, who hurled insults at officials feasting inside the mall.

Source: Sowetan

Last modified on Wednesday, 25 September 2013 12:06

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