Giant mall takes shape

A staggering R350 million is being spent on the development of a new shopping mall in Philippi.

The fully-fledged mall, with some of the country’s leading retailers, along Govan Mbeki Road opposite the Philippi Magistrate’s Court, is expected to open for trading early next year.

Construction is already underway with the building clearly visible. More than 500 people are currently working on the site, with hundreds more expected to be employed once the mall is opened.

Philippi Development Forum chairperson Monwabisi Mbaliswana said the idea was to make Philippi an economic hub.

He described the construction of the mall as a huge investment for the community. It will add to the two existing centres and create more traffic for motorists, in an already congested area.

Mbaliswana added that he was not concerned about the possible increase in traffic volumes.

He said plans were underway to expand the existing roads, including Klipfontein and a portion of Govan Mbeki in the vicinity of the mall.

He described the building of the mall as part of a strategy to decentralize services from the cities.

“Our provincial government and private entities are trying hard to bring services closer to the people. There will be no need for people to take transport to Cape Town or Wynberg for better services because they are closer to them,” he stated.

“Already 500 jobs are created during construction. And there will be thousands of people that will be hired to work here when it is in operational, particularly youth.”

Brown’s Farm resident Anathi Sotyato said the construction of the mall closer to the community brought hope to most residents.

“Judging by its appearance, it seems big ... And that gives hope that there will be more jobs opportunities for the youth,” said Sotyato. But she expressed safety concerns and urged the community to take responsibility and protect what they have from the hooligans.

“The mall needs to beef up its security,” she said.