JOHANNESBURG, April 9 (Reuters) - China’s Shanghai Zendai Property plans to break ground next year on an $8 billion new city development near South Africa’s commercial capital Johannesburg, its chairman said on Wednesday.
The 1,600 hectare “Modderfontein New City” will include offices, a light industry park, housing for 100,000 people, schools and entertainment centres and is expected to take at least 15 years to complete.
The 84 billion rand ($8 billion) development will see 3 billion rand in infrastructure spending in the next three years, with initial construction to focus on schools and houses, Shanghai Zendai Chairman Zhikang Dai told a news conference in Johannesburg.
The development will be 7 km from Johannesburg’s financial hub of Sandton and 8 km from South Africa’s main international airport. It is also near the impoverished area of Alexandra.
The project is described as an international residential community and may attract some of the Chinese nationals in South Africa, of which are there are around 300,000.
However, Nomvula Mokonyane the premier of South Africa’s Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg and the capital of Pretoria, said she hoped local residents would benefit from both jobs and housing.
Shanghai Zendai last year agreed to pay South African commercial explosives firm AECI around 1 billion rand for the land.
While Chinese companies have been building roads and infrastructure across sub-Saharan Africa for years, Shanghai Zendai’s project will be among the largest real estate deals by a Chinese firm in Africa’s most sophisticated economy. ($1 = 10.4306 South African Rand) (Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Anthony Barker)