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Mabopane Square: Do we need it or not?


Mabopane Square is the latest Shopping complex to be added to the Mabopane area.

This complex was launched in late 2019. It is the third shopping complex of its kind in Mabopane after the “Central City” and “Morula View” shopping complexes respectively.

Often times people become polarized when establishments like the Mabopane Square are erected.

Some are happy and others are not. In this article I will be looking at the advantages and disadvantages of having Shopping complexes like the Mabopane Square.

I will finish by looking at ways we can use to strike a balance between the disadvantages and the advantages thereof.

Advantages of Mabopane Square


We save time and money


At Mabopane Online we are fans of the Mabopane Square shopping complex.

We make use of it many times in a month because it has brought some of our favorite stores closer to us.

This helps us save money and time because we travel less, and more store options means more choices and therefore less queues.


Creates local employment opportunities



Local community members were employed during the construction phase of the complex and many more others are employed now both formally and informally.

With the South African unemployed rate recorded at 30% in June 2020, this has helped bring much needed relief to many families in the community.

In South Africa you are more likely to be robbed and killed than to be employed.


Other indirect developments


Establishments like these often bring along other indirect developments too.

This include better roads infrastructure in and around the area of construction.

Therefore It was because of the Mabopane Square that Mabopane had its first traffic lights installed.

At the time of writing the lights are not working due to a civil protest that took place recently in the area.

Look out for a separate article on our views regarding community protest actions.


Disadvantages of Mabopane Square


Small Local Business suffers


Mabopane Square has brought some of South Africa’s biggest franchise stores straight into the township and a walking distance from your house.

This is terrible news for the Spaza shop owners, the vegetable seller and other small community businesses who depend on their businesses to feed their families and to make a living.

Shoprite for example, buys its products in bulk. They also buy them directly from the producers.

Therefore they are able to negotiate lower prices and this in turn enables them to sell their products at lower prices too.

Spaza shop owners do not buy directly at producers.

They do not buy in Shoprite-size bulk and therefore do not have the same power to negotiate for lower prices.

Consequently, Spaza shops cannot compete with the big shops that call the Mabopane Square home.


No more local jobs


It sounds contradictory to say that the Mabopane Square is bad for jobs because I said they created jobs in my earlier comments.

Small local business are the best source of employment.

Therefore if they suffer employment opportunities will also suffer.

We posted in our previous article that According to Gideon Nieman in his book Small Business Management: A South African Approach (2006), SMMEs in South Africa have become an important focus for policy makers because:

  1. The labour-absorptive capacity of the small business sector is higher than that of other size classes
  2. They allow for more competitive markets
  3. Often use local resources
  4. Provide opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs, especially those who are unemployed, under-employed or retrenched
  5. Workers at the smaller end of the scale often require limited or no skills or training; they learn on the job


Deteriorating Local economy



Just like countries have economies, Mabopane also has an economy.

The amount of money in circulation is important in determining the health of any given economy.

When you buy from local community businesses that money stays and circulates locally but when you buy from Big franchised stores it goes out of the community to the wealthy shareholders of these companies.

Liquid cash is important for various reasons. Some of them include being able to deal with short term problems or opportunities.

It is therefore always easier to handle unexpected situations when you have access to cash.

How do we strike a balance


Regulate the number of Big shops we have in an area


We need a model that says, if a community has this number of people then it should have that number of franchised stores.

In the same way that marine life is protected we need to.

Fishermen are not allowed to fish to the detriment of the ecosystem.

Ensure Big businesses make use of local human resources and materials


We have quotas in sports and in B-BBEE policies.

We need to have similar ones that will make it compulsory for a store to hire a certain percentage of workers from the community the store operates in.

What other ways can we strike a balance?

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