The newly built Mpephu Plaza near Siloam in Thohoyandou, Limpopo, is set to boost job creation in the area and help small businesses. According to the mall owners’ marketing manager, SMMEs will be offered tailor-made and affordable leases.
The mall, which was launched on 24 March 2021, was built by the Masingita Group and the bulk of its infrastructure funded by the Trade, Industry and Competition Department to the tune of R14-million through its Critical Infrastructure Programme.
Landi Van Deventer told Vutivi News that it was critical that SMMEs were catered for. “We have exhibition spaces in the shopping centre where we empower smaller businesses within the community to come and display their products on the shopping centre grounds at a fee. Like any other business, they have to pay to be on site. They’re given leases at a reduced rate to the community where they can display their products,” she said. However, they were not allowed to be in direct competition with permanent tenants which needed to be protected to ensure that the mall remained a feasible project.
Van Deventer said that through ‘pop-up leases’ SMMEs were able to trade as normal tenants without being bound to long-term leases. The leases were at a reduced rental rate and would give small business owners insight into the feasibility of opening a store in the future, she said. “We are very focused on not cutting such businesses off at the knees, so we do work with smaller tenants… We advise them to opt for the short-term lease because smaller businesses do believe that their products will work, and from a landlord’s point of view we take it seriously to ensure that when we do place a tenant we ensure that we are successful,” she said. “We take that social responsibility very seriously.”
Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha said that residents would also benefit as they would be employed by the mall’s tenants.
“This project is in line with the government’s commitment to taking development to the people in partnership with the private sector. People of this area will have easy access to a number of retail stores and services under one roof,” he said during the launch of the 9000m² plaza. “I have learned that more than 300 jobs will be created here, and these will increase as the occupancy rate of the plaza grows.”