The Eastern Cape’s Buffalo City Municipality recently launched a R3.4 million shopping mall made from shipping containers to be used by township entrepreneurs in East London.
The Executive Mayor Cllr Xola Pakati handed over the mall at Scenery Park, one of the area’s oldest townships.
The project formed part of the City’s business development unit’s informal trader infrastructure programme, first rolled out in 2018 in Ntabozuko, Mdantsane, Zwelitsha and Bhisho.
Traders would run fast food outlets, hair salons, internet cafés, shoe repairs stores, art and crafts businesses and a printing shop from the containers.
Delivering his speech during the event, Mayor Xola Pakati said, “The City has invested 3.4 Million in this project for 17 beneficiaries from Scenery Park. This is another initiative by the Municipality to fight unemployment in our City.”
The municipality said the temperature-controlled container mall had been connected to electricity and water infrastructure.
It added that to eliminate vandalism and offer safety for traders, the municipality built fencing around the mall.
The municipality said due to the success of the programme in other areas, it decided to take it to different areas across the city, including Scenery Park.
East London had one of the highest unemployment rates in the province.
One of the beneficiaries Thabo Sabetshu who is a hair salon owner at the new container mall said, “I am so thankful to the Metro, now we have a safe place for our businesses. The City has now taken us from nowhere to somewhere.”