In an unprecedented act, New Africa Developments (NAD) are the first shopping centre owners to provide a free loaf of bread to the elderly and frail SASSA shoppers as part of this week’s payment dates at Dwarsloop Mall, near the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga.
“As we face the Coronavirus pandemic head-on, we want to make sure we provide support and resources to those who need it the most”, says the passionate New Africa Developments CEO, Japie van Niekerk. “This is the most challenging time for landlords, but these type of initiatives help bring relief to the communities and individuals who need it most. We are doing this despite the fact that we are not receiving full rentals, even more disappointingly so from the South African national fashion retailers, while still keeping our doors open for trade and maintaining the highest standard of operations, cleaning and hygiene during this time.”
Covid-19 is a global pandemic that has brought additional strain to an already struggling South African economy. It is at a time like this that the importance of bringing much-needed services to previously undeveloped areas is unlike any, with thousands of people relying on essential goods and services close to where they live. Where previously there was not a shopping centre, Dwarsloop Mall now serves 194 000 people.
Further to the bread initiative, New Africa Developments have also paved the way in their attempts to make the SASSA payouts less strenuous on the elderly and frail and otherwise disabled shoppers. The food court seating was used as a comfortable, yet highly effective social distancing tool. Chairs placed at 2m distances so shoppers do not have to stand whilst waiting for access to grocery stores. Chairs are disinfected after every shopper, with complimentary hand sanitizer available at all entrances.
“We are supported in this initiative by Super Spar, Boxer and A1 Food Store”, comments Rochelle van Niekerk, Asset Manager for NAD. “These vulnerable members of our society suffered great distress nationwide last month when thousands of SASSA members had to wait in line in order to receive their grant for monthly essential shopping, as a community mall we feel this is a small gesture but means so much to these cherished members of society.”