Govt will not rest until people have services

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Johannesburg - The new administration will not rest until previously disadvantaged communities are provided with proper economic facilities and basic services.

Opening the Pan Africa Shopping Centre and Taxi Rank in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg on Sunday, President Jacob Zuma said the new government's main goal was to improve the living conditions of poor communities.

"Our townships need to have proper shopping facilities, proper roads, electricity, water and sanitation, quality schools and clinics, affordable public transport and all basic the services that are taken for granted in historically white areas.

"We will not rest until that happens," he told the hundreds of Alexandra residents who had gathered for the event.

The shopping mall and taxi facility form part of the Presidential Alexandra Renewal Project, a public-private partnership between the Gauteng Provincial Government, the City of Johannesburg and the Pan African Development Company.

In 2001 former President Thabo Mbeki launched the project to improve the living conditions and upgrade human capacity, including environmental development, human skills, housing and infrastructure programmes.

President Zuma said the new shopping facility was a step towards achieving government's goal of bringing development to where the people are.

"The Alex Mall will serve as a catalyst for further growth and development. It will provide a quality shopping environment and hosts the first fully integrated shopping mall and taxi facility," he said.

President Zuma was accompanied by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Monkonyane, Deputy Ministers of Police and Art and Culture Fikile Mbalula and Paul Mashatile and members of the provincial executive committee.

Premier Monkonyane said the centre would generate employment opportunities as well as ensure that consumer spend remained within the local economy, bringing with it all the associated financial, social and employment benefits.

"With its dynamic tenant mix, this mall will compete head-to-head with centres such as Balfour Park, Greenstone Mall, Sandton City and Midrand where Alex residents are currently spending their money," the Premier said.

The integration of the shopping centre into a busy transport hub was the most challenging aspect of the project, said the Premiers.

Deputy Director of the renewal project, Darlene Louw said the shopping centre had already created job opportunities and sustainable business and would continue to do so.

"It will improve the quality of life of the people of Alexandra and boost the local economy by attracting visitors to this exciting shopping landmark."

Meanwhile, President Zuma had a busy day on Sunday. Earlier on Sunday the President visited the Soweto's first major shopping centre, Maponya Mall and is expected to attend the final cricket match for the Indian Premier League.