Business

Inside Joburg’s big plans to rebuild Soweto produce market, plus a drive-thru facility

Business Insider SA
 A view of Joburg Market. Johannessburg, South Africa. (Image: Supplied/Joburg Market)
A view of Joburg Market. Johannessburg, South Africa. (Image: Supplied/Joburg Market)
  • The Joburg Market is working on relaunching its satellite market in Soweto. 
  • The market was initially opened over 10 years ago but was mismanaged and neglected. The Joburg Market is now refreshing with some of the latest technological advances.
  • It plans to open the market in November.
  • For more stories, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

The Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market is working on revitalising and relaunching what used to be its satellite produce market in Soweto.

It plans to reopen the Soweto fresh produce market, which will feature technological innovations by November this year, just before peak festive season, Thokozani Thwala, the chairperson of the Joburg Fresh Produce Market board, told Business Insider South Africa this week. 

The Soweto market was initially set up more than a decade ago as the Joburg Market’s satellite location to serve the people of Soweto and its surrounds. But, after years of mismanagement, the main Joburg Market moved to shut it down. 

The property, owned by the Joburg Property Company (JPC), was eventually illegally occupied by recyclers.

The rejuvenation of the Soweto market is a project spearheaded by the Joburg Market’s management team and its newly appointed board, installed earlier this year.

"We have secured the property, and now we are in discussion with JPC to restore some of the basics, [like the] issues of power; there were illegal connections on the property, and to check if the structure is still sound for occupation," Thwala said.

Thwala said the market would be especially beneficial for informal traders from Soweto who usually get their produce at the Joburg Market.

"It's very strategically located; it's along Chris Hani, right at the entrance of Soweto, near Bara (hospital), close to the taxi rank," he said.  The board and management of the Joburg Market are seeking to enter a public-private partnership, Thwala said.

"So, the business model is going to be different. We want to go out to the market and ask, especially entrepreneurs based in Soweto within that particular industry, to give us proposals so that at least we can have someone from the particular area operating the market. Someone who's going to bring a commercial approach," he said.

Thwala could not divulge information on how much capital investment is set aside for the project because a tender process for a private commercial partner is still to be concluded.

Part of its most significant technological innovations is the addition of a drive-thru facility that will allow buyers to order online and pick it up at the facility. 

"We will be coming up with a payment and ordering system," Thwala said. 

The market will also feature complimentary services such as an ice-cream parlour, farm-fresh milk offerings, bread and grains, and prepared foods sections. 

The market will be working with various partners, including Pikitup, on the waste management front. The Joburg Development Agency will be responsible for developing and designing the roadways and the building, and the Joburg Road Agency will construct the market's internal roads and other roadsides.

The Joburg Market, the largest in South Africa, spread across 64 hectares, will be leveraging its resources in operating the Soweto venture. It has 16 market agents dealing in an extensive range of fruits and vegetables, seven of which are black-owned. It has an average of 12,000 buyers daily and last year generated R6.8 billion in sales.



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