By Veli Mbhele
There was a stampede yesterday on the N1 with the opening of the so called Mall of Africa. The overwhelming numbers of shoppers were black people desperate for a small bargain. Yesterday the retailers had an early Christmas, today they are smiling all way to the bank.
Truth is there is nothing African about the African Mall, just like the African Bank its actually white owned and using “Africa” to hide white owners. It’s dishonest and misleading advertising. Furthermore, the buying power of blacks is being abused to enrich the same people who are beneficiaries of the land dispossession and exploitation of blacks. The rand continues the one way trip from the black community back into white hands. The lack of black ownership and low participation in the economy has reduced blacks into consumers of goods they dont own.
In this context Black Opinion presents the following offering:
The official opening of the Mall of Africa in Midrand today, really caught my interest. I was particularly curious to know who owns it. My interest was informed by the excitement that this mall elicited amongst Black people and the fact that our people just swarmed the place today.
So, I decided to do some digging and discovered that the mall is actually white owned. It is co-owned by two white partner companies: Attacq (a capital fund growth specialist), and Atterbury (a property investment and management specialist).
These companies were founded by two white males, François Van Niekerk and Louis Van Derby Watt – Atterbury in 1994 and Attacq in 2005. The current Chairman for the companies is Pierre Tredoux. Both companies do not just have a very diverse portfolios and shareholder profile, they also have a significant continental (Afrika) and global spread.
Attacq also owns part of Tshwane’s Centurion Mall. But white ownership of South Afrika’s big malls is not a new phenomenon, for instance, Johannesburg’s Sandton City is owned by the Liberty Group and Durban’s Gateway is owned by the Old Mutual Group.
So when all this excitement of the opening of the Mall of Africa subsides, for me the critical question will be: in the context of the discourse on the continued hold of white monopoly capital over our economy, should we Blacks really celebrate the opening of the Mall of Africa?
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