Building of mall sparks dispute

Anna Majavu

Anna Majavu

Gugulethu businessmen will go to war in the Cape high court this week over the rightful ownership of land that the R350million Gugulethu Square mall is being built on.

West Side Trading (Pty) Ltd, a consortium made up of Old Mutual, construction giant Group 5 and local business, will ask the court to evict the SS Skhoma butchery, which has been a Gugulethu landmark for 24 years.

But sisters Noluthando Koyana and Thandiswa Kama have already applied for an interdict against West Side Trading, which will be heard in the same court on Thursday.

Kama said they are not against the mall being built but are against being told, after 24 years of trading, to "get out and make way for rich developers who have never contributed to this community".

But local businessman Mzoli Ngcawuzele, spokesperson for West Side Trading, says the butchery is holding up construction "at huge cost to the project".

Apart from holding shares in the mall project, Ngcawuzele also owns a butchery nearby.

Kama alleges that the original landowner - Khula Enterprise Finance, a project of the Department of Trade and Industry - went into partnership with West Side Trading without considering the existing businesses in the area.

"We have applied for an interdict against West Side Trading and Khula because we found out the land was officially sold by Khula only on January 14 this year," she said.

"Khula was supposed to empower small businesses. We, the tenants on this land, told them that we wanted to buy our space, but they made a secret deal with West Side Trading instead," said Kama.

Ngcawuzele responded by saying: "Our attorneys gave SS Skhoma until the end of February to relocate. Since then, legal proceedings have been instituted for its immediate eviction and for damages," he said.

Khula Enterprise Finance could not be reached for comment.