Gauteng Premier rallies behind "Modderfontein New City" development

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Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane hailed the multi-billion rand deal struck by Chinese property firm to turn property in Modderfontein into a business hub Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane hailed the multi-billion rand deal struck by Chinese property firm to turn property in Modderfontein into a business hub

At the stakeholders briefing held on Wednesday announcing plans to built R84bn new City Centre in Modderfontein, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane welcomed the multi-billion rand deal struck by the Chinese property firm to turn property in Modderfontein into a financial hub.

The 84 billion rand ($8 billion) development will see 3 billion rand in infrastructure spending in the next three years, with initial construction to focus on schools and houses, Shanghai Zendai Chairman Zhikang Dai told a news conference in Johannesburg.

Chinese companies have been building roads and infrastructure across sub-Saharan Africa for years. Shanghai Zendai’s project will be among the largest real estate deals by a Chinese firm in South Africa.

Shanghai Zendai agreed in 2013 to buy the land for around R1 billion from AECI, a South African commercial explosives company. AECI sold the bulk of its surplus property in Modderfontein and its property development business to the Chinese developer.

AECI would keep control of the Modderfontein Reserve, which was not part of the deal.

The 1 600 hectare "Modderfontein New City" will include offices, a light industry park, a Gautrain station, housing for 100 000 people, schools and entertainment centres expected to take at least 15 years to complete.

Modderfontein will dwarf Rosebank, Waterfall and Sandton, Dai told politicians, community members, businessmen and reporters at the site, where construction work on the project is due to start this year.

At the briefing on the development, it was interesting to see how Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and MEC for Economic Development Mxolisi Xayiya sang the praises of Zendai.

Mokonyane said the government was rallying behind Zendai simply because the project would eventually improve the lives of children from the neighbouring Alexandra and Tembisa townships, who were living in poverty.

She has called for locals to give Zendai a break from the negative misconceptions of Chinese investors.

However, all stakeholders would still have a responsibility to keep Zendai or any foreign investors in check.

“We are excited about the project. It is not all about job creation, but extending ownership of property and business to black people who were previously marginalised,” Mokonyane said.

Mokonyane will consult with Alexandra residents and is expected to speak to them on Friday. She said since the sale, no jobs had been lost on the property.

The company has committed to creating 50 000 jobs in the next 15 years. This is a significant number and will certainly help to ease the high unemployment rate in South Africa.


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