Construction of Shawasha Shopping Mall in Mbare is finally set to begin soon after differences that caused the abandonment of the ground-breaking ceremony in February were ironed out.
The business complex is being built in a joint venture between council and Consortio Zimbabwe at an estimated cost of $30 million. The mall is being built on the open space situated at the corner of Remembrance Drive and Cripps Road. A look at the graphic illustrations of the mall suggests that it is likely to change the face of Harare’s oldest high density suburb.
Council were left with egg on the face during the ground-breaking ceremony after a group of Mbare youth interrupted the event, accusing council of not following proper procedures. However, Martin Matinyanya, councillor for Ward 4 where the mega-project is taking place confirmed that construction was set to start as everything has now been sorted out.
“We have agreed as residents to relocate traders who are currently using the open space where the mall will be built to another point so that we pave way for the construction work. We are expecting preliminary work to start by month end,” said Matinyanya in April.
According to the councillor, Shawasha Shopping Mall will go a long way in uplifting the face of Mbare as well as providing many other benefits which will include job creation, decongesting the suburb and, providing much needed trading space.
“After construction, first preference to occupy the shops in the mall will be given to local residents and the investors have also said that some of the surrounding buildings will benefit from the electricity that will be generated from the mall’s solar grid,” said a hopeful Matinyanya.
Most residents in Mbare survive on informal trading and trading space has been a major problem in the area with many traders forced to utilise undesignated points such as the spaces between residential flats, causing terrible congestion. City of Harare town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi said that the community in Mbare will benefit enormously from the project.
“Over 20,000 direct jobs will be created upon completion. An additional 2,000 jobs will be created during the construction phases. Key features of the complex include 6,000 vending stalls, a modern shopping mall that will accommodate banks, retail shops, food courts, traditional meal canteens, and sports facilities consisting of basketball and tennis courts and a five-aside soccer pitch,” said Mahachi.
Dr Mahachi explained that the inclusion of sporting facilities at the mall is in line with the original town planning classification which earmarked the area for recreational use. The town clerk also said that the complex will be solar powered in line with government policy on the use of green energy.
“Once complete, the complex is expected to give impetus to the regeneration of Mbare as all other structures in the suburb would be expected to match the world class complex,” he said.
Some residents in Mbare said that they were excited with the project. Albert Makoni (45) who lives and work in Mbare as a trader, said that the shopping mall will transform many people’s lives as they will finally move away from being street traders to become shop owners.