Shopping mall brings hope to Richmond

Mhlaba Memela

Mhlaba Memela

The launch of a R100 million shopping mall in Richmond in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands is being touted as a milestone for peace.

The town was ravaged by political violence 12 years ago and now the development is giving hope for economic recovery.

The construction of the mall started late in 2006 through investment by the Magnificent Four, a company owned by the Isolenu Holding Group.

The actual construction of the mall cost R55 million and tenants paid R45million for fittings to their shops.

MEC for finance and economic development Zweli Mkhize said the launch of the mall last week signified a new beginning for the town.

"This is the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of the people of Richmond. A chapter in which we will see reconciliation, peace, development and hope. This is a chapter that is going to address issues of job creation and development," he said.

During the building of the mall 160 jobs were created and it is hoped more people will be employed as more tenants move in.

About 30 shops already operate in the mall. These include a mixture of grocery, clothing, and food outlets, as well as the post office, curtailing the daily movement of the local people from Richmond to Pietermaritzburg to do their shopping.

Richmond mayor Ben Ngcongo said previously people were scared to invest in the area because of violence.

"Now that investment has started we can look forward to seeing people's dignity being restored. As a municipality we are prepared to work with business to develop our area," he said.