R1,5-b centre for Centurion

June 24, 2004
By Patrick Hlahla

A convention centre costing an estimated R1,5-billion and built in the shape of Africa is planned for Centurion.

The Tshwane International Convention Centre (TICC) - designed to accommodate more than 10 000 delegates and including two hotels - is a joint venture between the Tshwane Metropolitan Council, Community Investment Holdings and Bantsho Investment Holdings.

The parties yesterday signed a deal for the centre, which is to be built near SuperSport Park.

The development of the centre will coincide with other major development projects in the area, including the Centurion Complex, Gautrain station and the Centurion College.

Architect Fanuel Motsepe said they decided on the shape of Africa for the centre "to reflect the spirit of Africa".

Visitors to the centre will have the option of three or five-star accommodation in the two hotels.

Apart from the conference rooms there will also be office space, restaurants, shops and financial services outlets, as well as a variety of entertainment facilities, including cinemas and gyms.

An open court in the centre of the complex will be accessible by pathways.

Provision has also been made for a lush park to "complement the green culture of suburban Centurion", the developers said at yesterday's launch.

The centre's site makes it possible to take advantage of the established infrastructure, with easy access from major national roads which link Pretoria city centre and Johannesburg International Airport, as well as Johannesburg, Mpumalanga, North West and Limpopo.

Dr Anna Mokgokong, chairman of Community Investment Holdings, said it had been a "long and torturous road" since 2001 to conclude the partnership between the company, Bantsho Investment Holdings and the municipality.

Mokgokong said the realisation of the project was a historic event.

She added that 10 years ago very few people would have believed that such a complex project would be successfully entrusted to a team of young black professionals.

"The TICC will thus stand as a monument to democracy and a beacon of the ability of black South Africans to achieve at the highest level. It will be there for the whole of Africa to see.

"All significant monuments in the Tshwane metropolis were erected in the previous era, therefore this will be a significant first ... the first of its kind and magnitude in the greater city ... a fact that will further enhance the status of our nation's capital."

Executive mayor Smangaliso Mkhatshwa said the Metro Council wholeheartedly backed the project.

He said it was a shame that Tshwane, as the seat of government, did not have a convention centre to host international conventions and conferences and the centre would fill this gap. - Metro Reporter.