New mall development for Durban
Concerns raised over nearby landfill site
A MULTIMILLION-RAND mixed-use development boasting Durban’s biggest shopping mall, a private hospital, commercial real estate and residential properties is on the cards for Ntshongweni in the Upper Highway area.
However, the project – which according to the developers will bring an initial investment of R1 billion into the area – could be in jeopardy if the matter of the Ntshongweni landfill site, owned by EnviroServ, is not addressed. The municipality is also planning to build a landfill site in the area.
Details of the proposed development were contained in a report that came before the eThekwini Municipality’s economic development and planning committee last week.
The development is being led by a company called Fundamentum (PTY LTD) and if all processes go according to plan, the project could start within the next three months.
The development site is located 38km west of Durban, along the MR551 just after the Shongweni off-ramp, N3 west-bound towards Pietermaritzburg.
A central part of the project is the shopping centre, to be known as the Mall of the West, which is mooted to be one of the biggest shopping centres in Durban.
The development has been welcomed by political parties which said it would bring economic revival and create jobs. One party described it as a “magical development” and something that the city desperately needed.
The plans to build the mall first emerged in the media in 2018, but the municipal report details a much wider
The report stated that the development would take about nine years to complete, with the initial rand value being R5bn, facilitating the creation of 35 000 full-time jobs and would generate R500 million in annual rates.
The overall investment value is expected to be no less than R28bn over the next 20-30 years, with the initial private sector investment of at least R2bn (of the R5bn) already committed towards Phase 1 (ie. the urban core) of the development and comprising the mall’s private hospital and residential accommodation). Phase 1 would be implemented over the next three years, with the mall opening in 2024.
Its framework shows that the development would have retail, commercial, mixed-use, integrated residential, logistics and industrial, urban amenities and extensive open space network.
It is proposed that “to meet the opening date, road construction should commence no later than the end of August 2021, that the city should give the guarantee for road upgrades that is required to enable approval of building
plans that will be submitted within the next two months”.
In the report, the company highlighted the presence of EnviroServ as among the potential concerns for the project.
“One billion rand and more is ready to be invested immediately by the private sector which will trigger R12bn new additional investment, this investment and the associated socio-economic benefits could be at risk unless these issues are decisively dealt with. EnviroServ is an existing issue in the area and a threat to the investment and new development, the proposed municipal landfill directly below that would significantly exacerbate the problem,” said the report.
Dean Thompson, EnviroServ Waste Management chief executive, said: “We are aware of the development and are in ongoing discussions with the developer.“
In the report, the company also highlighted other challenges including the funding of road upgrades in the area over the next nine years and the provision of electricity beyond 8 MVA.
DA councillor and committee member Geoff Pullan said: “This is a huge development and we are all very positive about it in the council. It could create many jobs. The developers say the Mall of the West will be bigger than that of Gateway. It will not be closed (structurally) and would have a lot of open areas with trees.”
He said the one issue that was of concern was that of sewer infrastructure because it was not good in the area.
IFP councillor and committee member Nessa Bhanprakash said they were excited about the project, adding that it would go a long way to revitalise the economy of the Outer West area.
“What excites us about the project is the thousands of residential units to be built there. This will create employment opportunities,” he said.
Bhanprakash described the project as a “magical development”, something that the city desperately needed. “This development will be a city within a city.”
Municipal spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the project was significant in promoting much-needed socio-economic growth in the Outer West of
Durban. “Thousands of jobs as well as new business opportunities will be created as a result of this development. The project is expected to contribute towards the development of the N3 nodal development, together with the Keystone and Cato Ridge logistics hub.”
Mayisela said the precinct would comprise a high-street retail concept, a hospital, commercial, business park and residential accommodation.
He said the municipality would be spending no less than R1bn towards the roll-out of municipal infrastructure to support the development.
“This development will make a significant contribution towards job creation and work opportunities, as well as revenue from the property rates and utilities consumption,” he said.
He said discussions were under way to address the concerns about EnviroServ and the city’s own landfill site to find solutions that were environmentally friendly and sustainable, including the renewable energy possibilities through exploring waste-to-energy innovations.