Old Mutual breaks ground for new shopping centreBy: LUQMAN CLOETE
OLD MUTUAL on Friday broke the ground for the construction of a N$92 million shopping centre at Keetmanshoop.
The centre will bring much-needed jobs and shopping opportunities to the southern town.
The development, fully funded by Old Mutual, will consist of 11 000 square metres of which 10 000 square metres will be used for retail space while the remainder will be office space.
Set to open its doors in November 2013, the shopping centre will be anchored by a Shoprite Supermarket and Shoprite Liquor.
Other tenants include OK Furniture, Hungry Lion, Jet, Edgars Active, Legit, Foschini, Markham, Exact, Mr Price, Style Clothing and Beaver Canoe.
Old Mutual said negotiations are at an advanced stage with potential tenants such as Ackermans, Big Daddy, Crazy Stores, KFC, Steers, Nandos, Musica, MTC, NamPost, Leo and commercial banks to take up the remaining retail space.
The development is expected to create 150 permanent jobs in shops and indirectly through the provision of services such as cleaning, security and maintenance, as well as 100 jobs during construction.
Karas Region inhabitants often have to buy necessities at towns outside the region.
Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Old Mutual’s MD of Africa Operations, Johannes !Gawaxab, said: “The new retail centre promises great convenience and great savings in terms of both time and money for those who currently have to travel long distances to acquire many of life’s necessities, not to mention necessary luxuries.
“Not only will this development offer the biggest retail hub within the Karas Region, the reality that all tenants will be new to Keetmanshoop offers promise of job creation too, an achievement that clearly speaks to Old Mutual’s corporate commitment to enable economic transformation.”
In his message, Karas governor Bernadus Swartbooi described the project as a milestone demonstrating that the region is moving forward in terms of socio-economic development.
He reiterated his call to the regional political leaders to stop wasting time on “petty politicking” and to push for development instead.
Keetmanshoop mayor Moses Titus thanked Old Mutual for bringing the the much-needed development to the town and praised Swartbooi for the role he played in convincing Old Mutual to invest in the region.
Titus urged local residents to support the businesses set to open shop in the new centre, and demanded that local people be given preference in employment during the construction.