A business park growing next to Richwood, thanks to a land restitution deal, is an example of the sort of “economic catalyst” that can free those still trapped in poverty by the long reach of apartheid.
That was the message from Rural Development and Land Reform Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane who visited Richmond Park, on Saturday May 12.
The business park and mixed use development, along the north east of the N7 and Plattekloof Road intersection, comprises light industry, general businesses and warehouses.
It is being developed by several companies, including Atterbury Property Holdings, Bethel Properties and Qubic.
The property has been fenced off and private and public spaces have been demarcated. Street lights are going and roads and warehouses are being built.
The land was part of one of the country’s biggest land restitution cases after a land claim by its original owners was granted in 2011.
During 1972 and 1984, many families living there were forcibly removed under apartheid’s Group Areas Act and resettled in Atlantis and the Cape Flats.
The land now belongs to the Richmond Park Communal Property Association (CPA), which represents the land claimants – some 401 families (“Richmond Park set for multi-billion rand project,” Tabletalk, April 22).
Ms Nkoana-Mashabane was joined by CPA members and developers during her visit.
“Our communities should see land as economic assets and therefore CPAs are not encouraged to settle for cash,” Ms Nkoana-Mashabane said.
The Richmond CPA has granted developers a 99-year lease on the land.
The new development, built on 84 hectares, will include a shopping mall. Signage advertising a Pick * Pay has already been posted at the site.
Gerrit van den Berg, the development manager from Atterbury, told Tabletalk previously that significant thought had gone into creating an “aesthetically pleasing commercial park with emphasis on landscaping, cycle lanes, pedestrian walkways and the interfaces with Richwood and Tygervalley”.
According to the Atterbury website, around R150 million is invested for surrounding road infrastructure upgrades and access to the park.
“Within the Richmond Park precinct, investors and tenants can look forward to wide boulevards and landscaping, amongst other features, that will set it apart from other business parks in the region. The precinct is being designed to interface well with the surrounding properties and neighbourhood,” it says.
Richmond CPA chairman Rudi Adams did not respond to questions by the time this edition went to print.