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Soweto’s Orlando Dam and the old power station are complete, and work is forging ahead on others.

WORK on Soweto’s Orlando eKhaya is trotting along, and already four projects are finished. Others are progressing well.

Creating jobs and economic opportunities in SowetoCreating jobs and economic opportunities in SowetoAmong those that are complete is Heroes Bridge, a R46-million public infrastructure investment that is scheduled to be officially opened in April 2012. The bridge connects Maponya Mall with the precinct. Sculptured lights along its length symbolise the flow of power.

The R400-million upgrade to the University of Johannesburg Soweto Campus is also finished. Work on the campus includes two new academic buildings consisting of offices, computer laboratories and lecture theatres. There are also sport facilities, as well as an on-campus 300 unit student accommodation.

Also in the Orlando eKhaya precinct is a Johannesburg Social Housing Company project that consists of 102 units. It was completed in June 2010. The aim was to provide affordable, quality accommodation on a leasehold basis.

Other completed projects are the Orlando Towers Extreme Heights Centre and Chaf Pozi – places where people can go to have fun. Adventurous activities are the order of the day at the Orlando Towers, such as bungee jumping from the towers and swing between them.

From the top of these towers, you get the best view of Soweto, while at the bottom of the towers Chaf Pozi offers traditional Sowetan shisa nyama, a uniquely township restaurant offering braaied meat as the main fare.

On the cards is Soweto City, turning the Orlando Power Station into a retail centreOn the cards is Soweto City, turning the Orlando Power Station into a retail centreStill on the cards is Soweto City, in which the old Orlando Power Station will be converted into a 32 000m² retail centre. Construction is expected to begin in the first half of the year. Work is also expected to begin this year on Katavi Residential Villages. It will offer more than a thousand new upmarket townhouses.

Orlando eKhaya Waterfront should also get under way this year. This project includes the redevelopment of the dam into a world-class public space. It will include a circular walkway around the entire dam, public art and community facilities.

To date more than R56-million has been spent on local contractors and labour and over 1 200 jobs have been created in the precinct.

According to Alan Dinnie, the manager of the Johannesburg Property Company, these developments are in line with the company’s objectives, which are to harness the City’s property portfolio transactions to increase economic growth and broad-based black economic empowerment, while creating jobs and economic opportunities for disadvantaged communities and business.

Orlando eKhaya is the largest and most ambitious precinct development to be undertaken in the history of Soweto. The precinct, which will consist of business and tourism space when complete, is expected to transform Soweto into a vibrant and sought-after investment destination. The entire project is expected to cost more than R1-billion.

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