PALAPYE: Anticipation of the opening of the Diphalane Mall finally came to a delightful halt as residents of the village and nearby localities thronged the complex to witness as business resumed at the majestic premises.
The opening of the mall has been delayed from November 2017. Earlier in the year, another date was set for March only to be postponed again. Yesterday the anchor tenant, Shoprite Supermarket opened doors for business.
Four other tenants, Maxi’s, Orange Botswana, BTC and Pure Sight Optometrists Eye Clinic became operational. Others, that include the next anchor tenant, BAHUMI, are still packing stock.
Hundreds of customers thronged the mall. Traffic was almost at a standstill as the 565 parking lot spaces were packed to capacity. The project manager, Anthony Sekgweng revealed that the grand opening of the property would be done in July. He said the reshuffling of tenants has caused the delay.
“We are handing the shopping mall to Khumo Properties who would be handling the management of the mall. They have reshuffled the tenants henceforth causing some delays. We expect a good number of our tenants to be operational in time for the July grand opening,” he said.
Sekgweng said he was amazed by the response of Batswana at the mall when only a few shops were opening.
“It’s midweek and the response is amazing. It’s alarming, we thought 565 parking spaces would be enough and there might just be the need to increase.”
“We anticipate hectic month ends here once the mall is fully operational. Luckily, we
Customers who came to the mall were equally excited. Michael Basuti, 35, of Khurumela ward said he was happy with the new development. He said his shopping experience would never be the same in Palapye. “I have walked this mall and it is huge. It’s unfortunate most spaces are still empty, but this (opening of Shoprite) is the beginning. I am looking forward to the opportunities that this mall will bring for us,” he said.
Fifty seven-year-old Eva Raditanka of Dinokwane ward had travelled all the way from Serowe to be one of the first customers at Shoprite. She said she had come to buy groceries for her nephew’s wedding. “I am happy Palapye has grown. We have different kinds of shops here in Palapye and many are still coming. I am confident all the spaces in all these malls will be filled very soon.”
“We don’t have to travel as far as Gaborone and Francistown any longer. I have bought fresh vegetables here at Shoprite for my nephew’s wedding and other groceries. I am happy for these developments,” she said.
Portia Otlaadisa, 49, also shared similar sentiments. She wished the malls would open opportunities for local businesses and employ the locals to reduce unemployment.