NB: The following article was edited 7 hours after it was published to reflect that Robert Gumede will not be paid by government to develop the land but he bought the land and that will be his own development. We apologise for any confusion caused.
Wealthy South African and politically connected Mpumalanga prominent businessman Robert Gumede has been given the green-light to develop a multi-billion rand development in the Mbombela city.
Gumede bid for the municipal land situated where the Nelspruit Rugby Club (NRC) is and bid successfully as the person who must purchase and develop it. The land will now be owned by Gumede’s Guma Group.
But the rugby field comprises a small part of the land where the development is to take place. The biggest part of the property is unoccupied and that’s where the Mpumalanga capital city will be developed into a “modern city” by Gumede.
The Mbombela local municipality owns the land and is the one that will be interacting with Gumede in terms of rights to use the land.
Lowvelder reports that Guma will invest between R5 and R10 billion into the project. It is still to be announced when the project will begin and end.
Municipal spokesman Joseph Ngala said they want the area to look like Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, where people can “live, work and play”.
Ngala said the tender to buy the land was advertised and is set to be the “biggest single investment” in the area which will change the face of the city.
“Guma’s bid was found to be the most compliant and it offered the best investment into Mbombela backed by major financial institutions,” said Ngala.
“It has always been the council’s desire to revive and redevelop the CBD into a modern city,” he said.
Also a bridge linking Gumede’s Mpumalanga Melrose Arch with the newly built Mpumalanga High Court will be built by Guma.
Gumede’s Guma Group is involved in various sectors of the mainstream South African economy, including in IT, mining, finance, construction, communication, energy, property and transport.
Ngala said job opportunities will be created and will improve municipality coffers as new ratepayers will improve revenue collection.
He added that there are other council- approved plans to develop other CBDs within the Mbombela municipality, including Hazyview, White River and Barberton areas, “in partnership with the private sector – just like the City of Joburg and Tshwane do”.
(edited by ZK)
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