(Mthatha) – SOUTH African property development company, Billion Group – known for its development of major malls – on Wednesday evening celebrated its inroads into hotel development with the opening of the four-star, R130-million Mayfair Hotel in Mthatha, adjacent to the company’s R1.4-billion BT Ngebs City regional mall. Billion Group founder Sisa Ngebulana, who grew up in Corana just outside Mthatha, was on hand for the gala opening and ribbon-cutting. Business leaders and dignitaries attending the opening – including the Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle and SA Tourism CEO Sisa Ntshona – saw the 96-room hotel at full capacity for the event. Addressing a packed auditorium, Ngebulana said his vision for the hotel had been simple. “Before Mayfair Hotel, the hotels here were the same ones doing business when I left Mthatha some 30 years ago,” he said. “My aim with Mayfair Hotel was to create affordable luxury – a four-star grading with the look and feel of a five-star establishment.” The three-storey hotel, which opens to the public from Friday (June 2), boasts a luxurious three-room penthouse suite (at R10,000 per night), a two-room presidential suite (R5,000 per night), as well as executive suites (R2,300 per night), normal suites (R1,495 per night) and a several conferencing halls. “When we opened BT Ngebs City two years ago, we brought stores to the region which were only found in larger cities. Now by opening Mayfair Hotel, we bring accommodation which previously was only found in Johannesburg or Cape Town. “Later this year we will bring world-class entertainment to the region when we break ground on a casino and entertainment complex.” The hotel opening launches Billion Group’s phased precinct development around the major South African malls it has developed in recent years. This includes developing the precincts around Baywest Mall in Port Elizabeth, Forest Hill City in Centurion, and Hemingways Mall in East London. Construction . . .
MAY 29, 2017 - A R40-MILLION CONVENIENCE centre and service station development launched in Mthatha last week [SUBS: Thursday 25 May 2017] represents a vote of confidence in the provincial economy and improved services and facilities on the busy route connecting the Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho and inland. Fort Gale Junction was officially opened on Wednesday night (SUBS: Weds 24 May 2017) by the Executive Mayor of King Sabata Dalindyebo Local Municipality, Councillor Dumani Zozo. During his address, Cllr Zozo commended local developers Ndamara Investments for their contribution to the economic growth of the area. He urged the audience to consider and support other investment opportunities in the region such as the proposed development of a new town in the Coffee Bay area. The complex combines a new shopping centre with a revamp of the long-standing Fort Gale Motors Caltex service station, and is a key part of a business strategy to invest in “bringing world-class services and facilities to traditionally under-invested or forgotten areas” of the province, says Caltex Eastern Cape Marketer (CECM) chief executive Clive Berlyn. The new development is a combined effort of a group of committed Eastern Cape investors – CECM, Prince Mzwandile Maraqana of Ndamara Investments, and the Novate Group – who together invested R40-million in upgrading Fort Gale Motors into a state-of-the-art fuel service station and developing the new Fort Gale Junction shopping centre. Ndamara Investments has been the landlord of Fort Gale Motors since its establishment in 1989, and Prince Mzwandile said he was “proud of the latest evolution of the site into a retail hub that brings services and convenience to local residents as well as creating jobs and economic opportunities”. Berlyn and his business partner, the late Richard Ndungane, had a long track record in business in Mthatha when they founded CECM in 2003 to acquire the master franchise for the Caltex brand in . . .
The Waves for Change (W4C) team were stoked to officially open the East London site on Thursday 25th May, 2017. There to celebrate the successful expansion of the programme to the east coast, Morné du Plessis, Chairman of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation South Africa; pro-surfer Greg Emslie; representatives from site partner Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA), plus a number of other local supporters and friends. W4C Founding Director Tim Connibear and W4C National Director Robyn Cohen launched proceedings with a welcome address before handing over to Morné du Plessis who cut the ribbon to officially declare the site open. Guests enjoyed drinks and refreshments before taking part in an interactive lesson with the W4C team. Speaking about what it means for the W4C to open in East London, Cohen said: “We are committed to providing a child-friendly mental health service in communities where mental health services are under-resourced. Since launching here six months ago we have seen such a positive response to the programme; we already have 125 children attending each week and now the goal is to take that participation to 400.” The East London site has been in operation since January after W4C partner MBSA identified the potential for setting up a centre to service Parkside and the Mdantsane township; both low-income communities that have little engagement with the ocean. Feliciano Janneker, Corporate Affairs Manager at Mercedes-Benz South Africa, gave background on the partnership with W4C and the role Mercedes-Benz has played in the site’s development: “At MBSA, we recognise that sport is one of the key vehicles to drive transformation in the country. As such, we have over the years supported various sporting initiatives – with the latest being the Waves for Change Surf Therapy programme, an initiative which encourages surfing as a sport amongst the less-privileged communities and seeks to address the key issue of youth development. Running from . . .
Overnight leaders Waylon Woolcock and HB Kruger completed a clean sweep of stage wins to claim overall honours in the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek mountain bike race outside Port Elizabeth today. The BCX duo had a keen tussle with their rivals on the third and final day to emerge victorious by 20 seconds at the Zuurberg Mountain Village, which is perched above the Addo Elephant National Park. Riding in the event for the first time, the Western Cape pair finished the 50km stage in 2:11:40 for a combined race time of 8:08:01. They were followed home by the Ascendis-LCB outfit of Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit, who finished in 2:12:00 to consolidate their runner-up spot in the overall standings in 8:12:30. Defending champion Andrew Hill, who teamed up with Marco Joubert for TIB Insurance-Momsen, finished third on the day in 2:12:16 as well as in the general classification in 8:15:49. With a four-minute buffer going into the technically challenging final stage, Woolcock said their strategy was based on defence rather than attack. "If you look at the route we were probably at a slight disadvantage today against some of the more technical riders. "But something seriously would have to go wrong to lose a four-minute advantage in 50km, so we just tried to make sure that did not happen." The top three teams rode together for nearly the whole stage until BCX spotted an opportunity with about a kilometre to go. "It wasn't really planned, but we saw Arno taking a bit of strain coming up the last drag to the finish so we just put the hammer down for the stage win," said Woolcock. Reflecting on the event, he said they were very happy with their decision to compete. "The hospitality and organisation have been top-notch and it is one of the best events I have been to," he said. "Besides that, the terrain is amazing, with lots of variety and it can be quite gnarly and rough in some places. "As a climber, I enjoyed the fact that the stages finished at . . .
Waylon Woolcock and HB Kruger continued to call the shots as they won their second successive stage at the three-day PwC Great Zuurberg Trek mountain bike race outside Port Elizabeth today. Starting and finishing at the Zuurberg Mountain Village near the Addo Elephant National Park, the riders were faced with the 78km queen stage and the BCX pair remained in control after another hard day's racing. Woolcock and Kruger, who won the Winelands Encounter last month, broke away in the latter stages to cross the line in 3:16:14 for a general classification time of 5:56:21. Ascendis-LCB's Gert Heyns and Arno du Toit came home in 3:18:54 to cement their second position overall in 6:00:30, with TIB-Insurance-Momsen's Andrew Hill and Marco Joubert third on the day in 3:21:31 and overall in 6:03:33. Although there was a bit of wind, Kruger said it did not affect them much and that the sunny conditions and temperature were perfect for racing. "There was quite a big group of about six teams to the first waterpoint and from there Waylon and I tried to put on a bit of pressure," said the 26-year-old from Paarl in the Western Cape. "We saw there was quite a bit of climbing early in the stage so we wanted to test the opposition, but we also knew we had to save some legs for later on where it would count." Team BCX managed to open up a lead, but Kruger said Heyns and Du Toit were able to close the gap on the rise to the second waterpoint, about 20km into the stage. Hill and Joubert, who were dangling behind at about 30 seconds, also reintegrated the front group and from there it was status quo until the 50km mark. At that stage, Kruger said quite a rough, unmanicured climb faced them on the historical section past Ann's Villa. "We enjoy that sort of challenge and decided to try to make up as much time as possible, so Waylon went quite hard at the front. He got a gap and I was on his wheel and we tried to ride as fast as we could up the hill." They led . . .
Despite various investigative reports on Carte Blanche and general media exposure, private property buyers are still getting caught by non-disclosed defects. Although the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) provides relief to most consumers by ensuring that a seller or estate agent discloses all defects, the CPA does not apply to one-off, private sales. These sellers are still protected by the old voetstoots clause. While a quick walkthrough and a second visit to the property for a spot check of the condition of the home can help buyers sift through their options and narrow down the property they would most like to purchase, it is best to have a professional inspector undertake a thorough check and advise accordingly. Eric Bell of Inspect-a-Home, (a professional home inspection company) warned consumers against signing a disclosure before getting the property checked by an accredited inspector. He said countless buyers nationally were left with extensive repair costs after signing the documents as they gave some consumers a false sense of security. “These documents ask buyers to sign off on a number of key areas, including roofing, geyser condition, and damp problems. Unless you are a structural engineer or qualified building inspector, it is highly unlikely that you or the seller will be able to identify any latent defects. Every day throughout the country we see houses that are painted to make them look good and unsuspecting buyers are then taken to the cleaners with extensive and unexpected repair bills once they have moved in – their dream house becomes a nightmare.” He said sellers were liable for latent defects that existed at the time of the sale but, by signing a disclosure document, buyers were signing away their rights to that claim, effectively making the defects the buyer’s problem. He gave an example of a consumer who bought his home through an estate agent who tried to get him to sign a disclosure document which stated that the house, . . .
(Mthatha) – MTHATHA’S largest shopping centre, BT Ngebs City, has begun the countdown to its second birthday on June 25 with the launch of a two-month competition that will see one lucky shopper walking away with a kitchen makeover to the value of R25 000. In May and June, shoppers who visit any of the mall’s shops, restaurants or fast food outlets, and spend more than R300, will be eligible for the grand prize draw. BT Ngebs City general manager Lolo Sabisa said the shopping centre had earned its place in the Mthatha community over the past two years by adding quality of life and understanding the needs of local shoppers. “As a major regional mall, we serve not only our Mthatha residents but also the people living in the surrounding rural areas, who come into town to do their big shopping. We aim to bring them the kind of variety and quality that is usually only available in big cities.” Since 2015, shoppers have had access to over 100 big-brand clothing, grocery, homeware and other retail stores plus a wide variety of food outlets. The opening of Motion Fitness Health Club this year has rounded out BT Ngebs City’s complete lifestyle offering. Sabisa said the centre was pleased to mark its two-year milestone by giving away a prize that represented good value and good times for its shoppers. “A birthday is a time for celebrating with family and friends – and food is always an important part of any celebration. That’s why we’ve cooked up this prize of a kitchen makeover, so that the winner can enjoy sharing a meal with their loved ones every day.” Continuing the food theme, Sabisa said no birthday would be complete without cake and that the centre management team would be cutting “the biggest birthday cake Mthatha has ever seen” and sharing it with shoppers at the grand prize draw. He said this would take place at 1pm on Sunday, June 25, in the Woolworths Court. “Three finalists will be drawn but only one of them will be the lucky one to . . .
Experienced stage racer Yolande de Villiers is ready to show her competitive side when she joins forces with Neill Ungerer to tackle the PwC Great Zuurberg Trek mountain bike race next week. Despite holding down a fulltime job, the Oudtshoorn rider said she was always focused on getting a podium spot and ready to give it her all when the three-day event started at the Zuurberg Mountain Village, near Port Elizabeth, on May 26. She is particularly keen on renewing her partnership with Ungerer, from George, after they won the mixed section in the GR300 in Knysna last month to add to their title in the Cape Pioneer Trek late last year. "Neill is such a great partner. He is super strong on the bike but he doesn't kill me or try to race me," said De Villiers, who will be riding for Dryland-Ultimate Cycling. "He looks after me. On the open roads he will do the work in front and on the single-track he will also go in front to give the best lines," said the former national marathon and Cape Epic champion. "In mixed racing, the girl is in the red zone most of the time, but Neill is able to manage me and look after me. He is also a very positive person and we have lots of laughs and fun on and off the bike." With both of them having grown up in Oudtshoorn, they are accustomed to hot and testing conditions and De Villiers said she felt this made them "harder riders". "We both have strong minds and quitting is never an option. We don't have loads of time to train, but we do everything we can to be as well prepared as possible." De Villiers said her season's highlight was placing second overall in the three-day Tankwa Trek in February alongside Mariske Strauss. According to her, Zuurberg provided a memorable experience in all aspects. "I'm absolutely in love with the Eastern Cape," she said. "The trails are world-class, the accommodation is luxurious and the food is magnificent. "The smell of elephants and citrus makes it a magical . . .
Visitors of all ages to the 16th annual SPAR Kirkwood Wildsfees are invited to “Embrace your Wild in the Adventure Province,” says festival director Jennifer Honsbein. This year’s three-day festival at the end of June includes a unique “festival for all seasons” for kids, the Eastern Cape’s premier game auction, “wild rides” and “wild shopping” at over 350 specialist stalls, as well as a galaxy of stars performing under the Karoo sky on the province’s biggest stage. “This festival bridges the gap between the farming community, on whom we are dependent for many of our products and the retail outlets where our shoppers see the final merchandise,” says SPAR Eastern Cape marketing director Abri Swart. Kirkwood is situated in the picturesque Sundays River Valley of the Eastern Cape. It is the heart of the Eastern Cape’s citrus and wildlife industries. An integral part of the Valley is the Addo Elephant National Park, which this year will be selling 50 disease-free prime buffalo from its herd at the Kirkwood Wildsfees Game Auction on Friday, June 30. Hosted in partnership with the organisers of the annual Wildsfees, the auction gives breeders from the whole region an opportunity to purchase prime game from Addo, other national parks and accredited breeders. Citrus has been grown commercially in the Valley since 1908, and this heritage is being celebrated for the first time at the ATKV-Lemoenstasie stall in the craft arena. ATKV award winning chefs Francois Ferreira and Annelie Oosthuizen, founder of Petronella Fine Dining, will be sharing some of their favourite citrus dishes with festival goers. There is an adventure zone where families can embrace their wild together. These include little pony rides, enchanted walks through the Faeries for all Seasons Wonderland, and meeting favourite characters from Paw Patrol for the youngsters, while parents and the older kids enjoy giant games such as dominos, jenga and croquet, and the more adventurous . . .
Port Elizabeth, May, 22nd, 2017 - The recent sale of the most expensive property in Port Elizabeth for a record R16 million is an indication that the real estate landscape in Nelson Mandela Bay is heating up, influenced by the economic forces that shape the national property market. The Seaview home deal could also boost property valuations in Port Elizabeth and establish a favourable environment for owners selling a house privately. Even though the housing market in Port Elizabeth is set to follow suit with trends in other major metros, the city has its own merits. The average homebuyer in the Bay does not have to reach too deep into their pockets yet compared to their counterparts in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Furthermore, Port Elizabeth is not too overcrowded from a residential, holiday season, and economic activity perspective. In 2006, Private Property ran an article about the Port Elizabeth Residential Property Market, in which it was predicted that PE can expect massive capital gains on property as a result of increased economic activity and that holidaymakers will hunt bigger spaces as land will be in short supply in other major coastal cities. Now, twelve years later, Port Elizabeth is living up to these expectations. The city was able to attach a record price tag on a luxury 750m² residential property, despite the fact that most properties in the region fetch a price between R600, 000 and R1,5 million. Nelson Mandela Bay is also one of three coastal metropolitan markets (along with Cape Town) to outshine inland markets. Last year, Nelson Mandela Bay's market performance was significantly better than the average house price inflation with a 7.2% increase – 4.3% behind the Cape Metro. That Port Elizabeth is experiencing a development surge can be attributed to the sizable investments that Coega IDZ is attracting as well as other new areas allocated by government for fast-tracked development. The residential market growth in this region relates . . .