On August 6th 2019 Rustenburg Mayor Councillor Mpho Khunou and property mogul Mr. Roux Shabangu of JB Holdings, in the presence of other co-investing property development companies -Twin City and Moolman Group presided over a sod-turning ceremony in an open veld outside the City Centre. The intimate ceremony marked the beginning of a journey of what was to was bring life to Rustenburg’s local economy falling the downward trajectory of the City’s economy following the Marikana massacre. The aftershocks of the violent clashes spilled over into various sectors of the economy which led to job cuts in the mining sector in the region of 10 000. Subsequently many players in the private sector, disinvested in Rustenburg fearing a contracting economic base.
Over a year and half later, Rustenburg’s first resident expressed how proud he was of what the Council he has been at the helm of had achieved, in-line with the City’s long term strategy of transforming Rustenburg. He said many of the City’s detractors were convinced that the Rustenburg Mall, would never be a reality “I am proud of the work we have done as a Council, the road has been very long as this vision started in the early 2000’s. We had endless obstacles, it did not look like we will achieve this, but the belief of the private sector into our vision, has birthed this beautiful facility. We have no doubt of the relationship we have formed and look forward to growing Rustenburg with you” Mayor Khunou said. Council had embarked on a spatial land management use strategy as part of creating an integrated and interdependent service offering to communities in 2003, when the Executive Mayor was then Rustenburg’s Municipal Manager. The process which was tedious, which included in interested parties presenting before the City Council on how the portion of land would be used, to achieve the City’s strategies of spatial planning while promoting economic growth. Further, the proposal for the use of the land had to be subjected to public participation where the community had to make inputs and representations, if a project of this magnitude should proceed. The City says, it important for the community and the private sector to continue in jointly working together to ensure that socio-economic challenges which are currently prevalent are mitigated, primarily through investment and creation of direct and indirect jobs, which lead to the economy of Rustenburg.
Despite the challenges which were prevalent between the City and the property developers over the use of local content, over 80 percent of the work force including subcontracting opportunities were afforded the community of Rustenburg. Shabangu, CEO of JB Holdings said, despite the initial teething problems he is delighted that the development gave the people of Rustenburg an opportunity to become participants in the project “we are grateful that we were able to create jobs within the community in which we are situated and also afford the local SMME’s a chance to gain more experience” Shabangu emphasized. The facility which will open its doors officially tomorrow for trading features 120 stores, and the size of 8 soccer fields and was constructed at a cost of over 600 hundred million.
The Mayor also thanked the Member of the Mayoral Committee on Local Economic Development – Councillor Ofentse Kombe, Council’s Single Whip – Councillor Levy Mokwele as well as Councillors Latelang Nkgoang, Johan Cronje and Gert Du Plessis who are in charge of the hosting wards in the jurisdiction of the mall project. They had been participants in the established steering committee which was intended to safe guard the interest of the community while ensuring creation of opportunities for local empowerment. In attendance at the official launch was the Acting Municipal Manager Mr. Edward Komane and Council Speaker Councillor Sheila Mabale-Huma.
The event was also graced by dignitaries such as Prince Zulu of the Zulu Royal House in Kwa Zulu Natal and leader of the IPHC His Grace TS Modise.