Groundworks are progressing by leaps and bounds.
Date: 12 February 2018 By: Isabel Venter
Development of the Makhado Crossing into a “regional mall” will go ahead as planned.
This much was made clear during a stakeholder meeting that was held on Friday, 26 January, on the site. The town’s sports facilities, such as the jukskei, rugby, soccer and netball fields, all have to make way for the new mall. Masingita’s representatives also mentioned the possibility that the two access roads to the residential area opposite the development site, namely Impala and Leeu Street, might be closed off for traffic.
Governing bodies for the various clubs attended the meeting in the hope of getting answers from the Makhado Municipality as to the future of their clubs. Unfortunately, the municipality was not in attendance because of a miscommunication about when the meeting was scheduled to take place.
The aim of the meeting was to inform the clubs how, when and where to their facilities will be relocated. Representatives of Masingita Properties, the developer and owner of the mall, were surprised to learn that the clubs were in the dark over their respective futures.
According to the Masingita representatives, the municipal manager had signed off on the deal, in effect giving the go-ahead for construction to start, sometime last year. The fact that nobody was in the know about the project’s launch at the beginning of January was blamed on bad communication on the part of the municipality.
But is it as simple as that? The deal between Masingita and the municipality has been marred by controversy ever since the mall was earmarked for development way back in 2015. Masingita completed the land and property sale early in 2016.
Ever since then, it has been a struggle to get the municipality to be forthcoming about how the deal between the two parties was constructed, especially regarding the relocation of the existing sports facilities. In this respect it can only be hoped that the municipality will come to the clubs’ rescue and provide honest answers during the next consultation meeting.
The only thing that was made clear during the 26 January consultation meeting was that the relocations are going to take place, by hook or by crook. In the case of the rugby club, various temporary plans were proposed for their relocation. Current ground clearing will soon see the demolishing of their club house, up to the pavilion. This means that the club will still have grass to play on, but no spectator stands. For this, Masingita proposed temporary stands and a mobile container-based bar and clubhouse.
Ground clearing is scheduled to be completed by the end of April. Masingita expressed the hope that, by then, they will have started to lay down the new rugby fields, east of the show grounds. Temporary pits for the jukskei club will also be made on the same site. Only then will construction of the new facilities begin. The exact date could not be confirmed.
As to the road closures, the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) said that they were not aware of any such plans. “There are no plans to close Impala and Leeu Street, because these are streets leading to a residential area,” said SANRAL’s general communications manager, Mr Vusi Mona.
“There is development of the road infrastructure, due to the development of the Makhado Crossing Mall. The standard practice in such cases is for the traffic to be diverted, so as not to inconvenience road users,” Mona added.
Isabel joined the Zoutpansberger and Limpopo Mirror in 2009 as a reporter. She holds a BA Degree in Communication Sciences from the University of South Africa. Her beat is mainly crime and court reporting.