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Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for Corporate and Shared Services Councillor Mally Mokoena officially opened the multimillion rand Eyethu Orange Farm Mall on Tuesday.

The opening ceremony was, however, delayed after hundreds of protesters barricaded streets leading to the mall and burnt tyres demanding that they be employed by the new mall’s management.

MMC Mokoena, who represented Executive Mayor Mpho Parks Tau, decided to go ahead with the official cutting of the ribbon after consultation with the Chairperson of Committees in the Gauteng Legislature, Nomantu Ralehoko; Councillor Simon Motha; head of East Rand Police Captain Sipho Xaba; mall developers and security staff as residents protested.

About 10% of the 27 000sqm shopping mall, which consists of 93 shops, is owned by the Orange Farm community. Over and above that, the proprietors will sponsor space at the mall for two community entities – Afrika Tikkun’s day care centre and Thetha FM, a local community radio station.

More than 1 200 local residents were employed during the construction phase of the mall.

The local community’s 10% stake in the mall was facilitated by the National Empowerment Fund. The other owners, each with a 30% stake, are the mall’s developers, Stretford Land Developments; JSE-listed property company Dipula Income Fund; and Flanagan and Gerard Investments.

Thetha has grown its listenership to more than 300 000. Currently broadcasting from a school, the radio station will soon move to its modern facility, where it will occupy 100sqm of space.
Thetha FM Programme Manager Charles Motaung described the decision of the owners to give the station a home at the new mall as “commendable”.

“As a community radio station we want to make a difference in our community. We see radio as a tool to educate those around us, motivate people to positively change their situations and stimulate economic growth and community development.”

Afrika Tikkun, a non-governmental organisation involved in early childhood development in impoverished communities, has also welcomed the decision.

Its CEO, Marc Lubner, says effective early childhood development programmes undoubtedly give children a head-start in life.

“As Afrika Tikkun, we are delighted to partner with Eyethu Orange Farm Mall in providing opportunities for children of the mall’s employees as well as the broader community,” Lubner said.
The aptly named mall – Eyethu means “it’s ours” in isiZulu – will also be the home of the Orange Farm Taxi Association.

Paul Gerard of Flanagan and Gerard Investments says: “Eyethu Orange Farm Mall is designed to make it easier for local shoppers to get things they need from their favourite shops in a vibrant, quality shopping mall.”

Izak Petersen, CEO of Dipula Income Fund, points out that the mall is designed to be an asset to its community in every way.

“We’re extremely pleased to have invested in this extraordinary asset, of which its community is proud,” he says.

David Lieberman of Stretford Land Developments adds: “We are excited about the eagerly awaited opening of Eyethu Orange Farm Mall. For many people who have walked this journey with us, it is a dream come true.”

The tenants include Shoprite, Pick n’ Pay, Roots Butchery, Absa, First National Bank, African Bank, Capitec, Nedbank, Standard Bank, Old Mutual, Foschini, Edgars, Truworths, Identity, Markham, Total Sports, Exact, Legit, Levis, Pep Home, Chicken Licken, KFC, Pep Cell, Cashbuild, King Pie and Multiserve.

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