Hundreds of jobs were created during the construction of Mthatha magnate Sisa Ngebulana’s smart new hotel, which opens this week.
Ngebulana’s Billion Group delivered work and wages to 700 mostly local workers during the construction of the Mayfield Hotel and now 200 people have permanent jobs at the city’s brand new accommodation and entertainment complex.
These jobs are in addition to more than 3000 jobs created by the construction of the adjacent Ngebs mall. The three-star hotel was launched by the rural-born billionaire on Wednesday night and today it opens its doors to the public.
The R130-million, 96-room Mayfair Hotel is part of a bigger property development project planned for Mthatha by the soft-spoken mogul. His first project, the 60000m² BT Ngebs Mall, named after his grandfather, was officially launched in 2015. The Billion Group spent R1.4-billion on the mall.
The development is located along the way of the soon-to-be constructed N2 bypass. It is between the Mthatha CBD, Kwezi, Mbuqe and the industrial area, Vulindlela Heights. It is also opposite Mthatha Stadium, which is being given a facelift by the government.
Close by will be another major development that will include high-rise apartments overlooking Mthatha and the soon-to-be constructed highway.
These are only part of the billionaire’s R16-billion investment plan for the next 10 years in Mthatha, Port Elizabeth and East London.
The three-storey hotel boasts a luxurious three-room penthouse suite at R10000 per night and a two-room presidential suite at R5000 per night, as well as two executive suites at R2300, 88 normal suites for R1495 per night and several conferencing halls.
Premier Phumulo Masualle, OR Tambo district mayor Nomakhosazana Meth, Tourism SA CEO Sisa Ntshona, Western Mpondoland King Ndamase Ndamase and AbaThembu Queen Nocollege Dalindyebo all agreed during the opening on Wednesday night that the hotel and other projects will give the local economy a major boost.
“A modern aesthetic provides a sense of luxury not expected of a standard business hotel. In this way, the Mayfair will punch above its weight and draw in a new diverse customer base,” Ngebulana said, adding that the Mayfair might be a four-star business hotel, but the attention to design and detailing would ensure that guests were “pleasantly” surprised.
He said Mthatha had huge buying power and economic potential. “In June we will be turning the sod for the entertainment facilities including two restaurants, a cinema and a casino. I want to wrap up the projects within a year. That is another exciting leg of many.”
The good news about the number of job opportunities in the Mthatha area comes amid gloomy unemployment figures released by Stats SA yesterday which showed that the province lost 5000 jobs in the first three months of the year.
Unemployment rose from 28.2% in the first three months of last year to 32.2% this year, Stats SA found.
Ngebulana said: “I have a passion for the Eastern Cape and Mthatha. I was born here and my parents are from here. I would not be what I am if I was not born here.”
Ngebulana has developed a number of shopping malls in South Africa, including Hemingways and Mdantsane City in BCM, Forest Hill City in Centurion and Baywest City in Port Elizabeth. He said developments around those were afoot.
Masualle said the fact that the investments were made by a local person was worth celebrating.
He called for stronger relationships between the public and the private sector. “This is a challenge to others to follow suit, and to the government to make infrastructure conducive for investors.”
Ntshona said Ngebulana was an inspiration to South Africa.
This article was originally published at Dispatch Live and was written by Lulamile Feni. It is available at http://www.dispatchlive.co.za/news/2017/06/02/smart-mayfair-hotel-creates-employment/