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Big plans for small town

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Big plans for small town

The regeneration of the small town of Stutterheim is continuing apace, and work is nearly done on the Mlungisi Community Commercial Park, which will improve the quality of life of residents of the township, and bring jobs and services closer to their homes.

31 May 2013

ADSmlungisi insideAspire project manager Duduzile Radebe shows IDC’s Ornet Nene around Mlungisi Community Commercial Park

Construction of the R49-million Mlungisi Community Commercial Park in Stutterheim has not only created jobs for the local community, but will provide much-needed retail and social services as well when it is complete.

Services available at the centre will include a satellite post office, a police station, a municipal pay point, a library, a multi-purpose community hall, a LoveLife youth centre, and a clinic. Residents will also not be short of entertainment: a gym, a sports field and an amphitheatre, which is expected to host various forms of entertainment, constitute part of the park’s offerings.

“Work on the park started in September 2011 and we expect full occupancy by date of opening. Currently, lease agreements are continuously being signed and support [is being] provided to emerging entrepreneurs who want to take up occupation of business opportunities within the centre,” explains Duduzile Radebe, the Aspire project manager. The Eastern Cape Development Corporation; the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism; and the Small Enterprise Development Agency have chipped in to give the necessary assistance to these emerging entrepreneurs.

The commercial park is a project of the Industrial Development Corporation-funded Amathole Economic Development Agency, also known as Aspire, and is planned to stand out as a jewel of the small Eastern Cape town of Stutterheim. A visit to the construction site on 19 March by the IDC and Aspire officials was accompanied by the din of workers hammering away at metal structures, earthmovers groaning under the weight of tonnes of soil, and workmen exchanging noisy conversation as they toiled away in the afternoon sun.

ADSmlungisi insideMlungisi Community Commercial Park will house retail stores and offer services to the community.

The amphitheatre was taking shape, with concrete being poured on the S-shaped steps leading to the courtyard below. The pretty library, with its large windows and white and lime finishes, was complete, with only the interior furnishings still to be finished. The community hall, also dressed in lime, was huge and airy. The stage walls were dexterously decorated with circular wood fittings.

“Construction of the commercial park has created 167 jobs for the local people, mostly from Mlungisi township. We hope more jobs will be created when shops open,” says Radebe.

The Mlungisi Community Commercial Park is part of the Stutterheim Town Regeneration initiative, expected to pump about R100-million into turning Stutterheim into “a safe, clean town where all people work together, with a growing economy supplied by local businesses and services”.

The regeneration initiative includes:

  • Construction of an access road and bridge linking Mlungisi township and Stutterheim;
  • Abenzi Woodhouse Training Centre; and,
  • Upgrading the central business district.

 

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