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'no jobs' protest as new mall opens

By Mhlaba Memela | Oct 30, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE much-anticipated opening of the Bridge City Shopping Centre in KwaMashu yesterday was marred by protests by angry people who demanded jobs.

While singer Kelly Khumalo entertained guests and shoppers at the opening of the R740million shopping centre, angry locals were protesting against being excluded from "benefitting".

The shopping centre was built to serve the Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu (INK) communities north of Durban.

The protesters alleged that the mall, housing some of the country's biggest names in retail, did not offer job opportunities to locals. They allege that jobs were given to people from outside the INK areas.

The protest lasted three hours but police managed to order residents to leave the mall without any incident. The protesters tried to block the road leading to the centre but were prevented from doing so by the police.

An angry Khetho Dlamini was among the protesters.

She said: "When construction of this mall started men from the area were given jobs, but when better jobs are up for grabs we are shown the middle finger."

Dlamini said she and others had sent their CVs applying for jobs but had received no response.

"Some of our CVs were found in dustbins. We were happy about the mall development because we had hoped to get employment, but that is not the case. Instead we have nothing," Dlamini said.

The two-level shopping centre is the biggest urban development in the township that bridges communities from Phoenix and INK areas with over 120 stores.

Despite the protest action the opening attracted scores of shoppers as the stores offered merchandise at low prices.

Ward councillor and chairperson of economic development at eThekwini municipality Faso Majola said the area had a population of 600000 and only 600 positions were available.

"We asked that at least 90percent of jobs be given to local people. Those who protested constitute only 20percent of the population. The community in general is happy with the development," he said.


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