Tshwane is mall mad… that’s our city scene
We have everything; shopping centres, entertainment galore
TSHWANE isn’t just the capital city; it is a mallmad one too. We all know that South Africans like shopping, or hanging out at the mall, and the city has plenty of malls with a wide range of shopping and entertainment offerings to satisfy the demand.
The city not only has more malls than most – it also boasts Menlyn Park Shopping Centre which is the biggest mall in the area, and one of the largest in Africa with a total floor space of 170 000m² and more than 500 shops.
Fourways is under redevelopment and it will be slightly larger than Menlyn.
According to the SA Shopping Council, South Africa has the sixth highest number of shopping centres in the world, despite the size of its population ranking only 29th in the world.
Tshwane alone stands ahead of the pack with 24 malls – and a number, including Mams Mall, under construction.
According to Trip Advisor the city’s “best” malls include Brooklyn, Woodlands and Irene Village.
Pretoria has been described as a premier shopping destination, “with everything ranging from extremely high-end boutiques to bargain basement outlet malls”.
The malls are not only frequented by locals, but by visitors too – with regular bus loads arriving at Menlyn’s welcome centre.
A recent study conducted by MSCI Real Estate SA, on behalf of the South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC), noted that malls were getting bigger.
New data indicated that the average size of centres developed have steadily increased in size since the 1990s with centres slated for completion between 2017 and 2020 being significantly larger than those developed during the 1990s and 2000s.
The larger malls have the advantage of dominating beyond their catchment areas and attracting a higher proportion of national tenants, and speciality stores, thus strengthening their appeal and position.
Malls also offer cinemas and other recreational facilities with Pretoria boasting two ice rinks – at Forest Hill and The Grove, and a wide range of eating options.
Vishal Ramphal, public relations officer for the council, said a reason for the increase in mall size, including redevelopment of malls, may be globalisation.
“Globalisation has brought many international brands into the country that were once considered unattainable. This means that the store-within-a-store that stock these international brands will be rendered obsolete, thus creating the opportunity for expanded retail space.”
He added: “When we drill down to the square meterage of retail space, South Africa ranks as sub-Saharan Africa’s most saturated retail market, representing 88% of the available space in the region.”
Despite news reports of mall robberies, most shoppers feel safe in the city’s malls.
Zanele Dube, of Pretoria east, visits malls because of the vibe. She likes to window shop in a safe environment.
“The bigger the mall the more variety. Malls are a one-stop where you can do your groceries and get new shoes without the hassle of driving all over the place,” she said.
Soshanguve resident Boitumelo Nkosi said she liked going to malls.
“Although a mall is always busy, it just feels safe and refreshing. It’s a simple day out on your own or with friends and chances of bumping into nosy neighbours are slim.”
Centurion resident Bontle Raseroka says the appeal of modern malls is more about an experience and entertainment; not just shopping as there are arenas and indoor sports facilities.