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PCB Blog - Edendale Mall


Edendale Mall

2010/09/23

Zinhle Sokhela:  PCB President

It is a measure of the extent to which our society is consumer rather than production oriented that we regard the development of shopping centres (we prefer to call them malls now, no matter how big or small they may be) as a sure sign that we are making economic progress.    What is certain is that they are better than no development at all, and for this we should be thankful.    After a drought for many decades, the people of Edendale will soon have three new shopping malls to choose from.   Insofar as there has been so little economic development in Edendale, and the people who live there certainly need access to shopping facilities which have always been available only in town, the developments are to be welcomed.     They will make a significant difference to the area, not least because they will provide nodes of other development and, at least, societal assembly points. 

There may be adverse effects, too.   One of these is that some small traders owning spaza shops may go out of business.  Another is that people will be enticed to spend even more money that they don’t have.    There is a shopping mall mentality among consumers that is fed by the glitz and the attraction of an array of stores in one place, all offering attractive bargains.    Not the least of the concerns is that the bulk of the profit from the rentals and the trading will leave the area.    Few of the shops will be locally-owned enterprises.    These are not generally in a position to pay the substantial rentals usually required by mall developers who, after all, must get a decent return on their investment.    In any event, we, the consumers, would not be content with local shops with limited stocks and higher prices.      We desire the national supermarket and other retail chains to be at our doorstep.  

Two points need to be made, I believe.   One is that convenience stores have not been put out of business by supermarkets or shopping centres.     They have flourished, in fact, largely at the expense of the old-style corner café which hardly exists any longer.    Their demise and replacement by convenience stores, usually, but not exclusively, linked to petrol stations, is an interesting development.    After all, corner cafés were convenience stores.    But mostly they were dim and grubby, while modern convenience stores are inviting, bright and well laid out.    They offer a good shopping experience in a clean and secure environment, even though prices are sometimes a good deal higher than in a supermarket.      Perhaps the small traders of Edendale can learn from this.    Collective and co-operative activity will improve their chances of survival.   Buying as a group offers discounts for bulk, while the development of a kind of franchise which saw all spazas branded and brightly and attractively lit and set out, could revive their fortunes.

The second point that I wish to make is that government should be giving more direction as far as development is concerned.     While the private sector is where development takes place, and the investors are the ones who will decide, appropriate planning and support may direct investors to projects that offer greater sustainability to the community.     Industrial or agricultural development would have more and wider benefits and may prove equally attractive to investors if well-conceived and planned.     This process would require a strong partnership between the public and private sectors in order to identify the most innovative and promising projects and to clear the way for their implementation.    

Notwithstanding all that I have written that might be interpreted as negative, the new developments will be very welcome and they will be of substantial worth in Edendale.  Hopefully, they will draw other developments which will be less consumer oriented.

Tags:  Mall(1)  Shopping(1)  development(16)  Edendale(1)  Development(16) 
Comments
miss concerned
2010/10/27 09:35:19 AM

even though the shopping mall is a gr8 idea for development, we need to consider the amount of accidents that will occur around that area, especially at the turn off eya embali...enye into ubugebengu poeple safa otsosti they wont even have to travel to town but just walk down to that mall basibambe inkunzi!!!


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