On November 11th, 2007, the fate of the R309 million mall development project in Mthatha is still questionable as officials wait for the decision of a land claim that was filed almost ten years ago.
The construction plans for a R215 m casino facility next to the mall have also been stopped after a claim by a local community. The project developers are now criticizing the King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality for permitting them to proceed with the project without first settling the land claim.
The main stake in the issue is an eight hectare land in Nkululekweni, which is near the Holiday Inn on the N2, where the Landmark Pty Limited has started fixing the area for a planned shopping center. Adjacent to it is a 10 hectare land area that the Permont Global Mthatha for the casino facility.
The company's head, Thembela Nodada said that the construction of the new casino facility was originally planned to start in February but the construction has been stopped since then. Nkosi Mfundo Mtirara, the chairman of Landmark said that tenants might begin leaving because even the early excavations for the mall have also been stopped.
The main issue in the problem is the community of Lindile, which is located outside Mthatha, who said that the land belongs to them. But the municipality said that the land belongs to them because they have the title deeds.
The Lindile issue dates back to 1998. Mtirara commented that about 2,500 jobs were expected to be offered during the building phase of the project. A project contractor has already been chosen, in an agreement which cost R30m, according to landmark. The initial construction in the site is already more than R20m.
KSD council speaker Mlibo Ooboshiyana commented that the land belongs to the municipality even with the land challenge. Talks between the KSD, the Land Claims Commission and the claimants are already in the works.
Nkosi Ngubesizwe, who is representing the Lindile community, commented that they are not against any kind of development but they should have been informed before the development has started. He insisted that they are the rightful owners of the land.
11/19/2007 05:44 PM