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Mayville: Overcoming a chequered past

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Business clusters feed off the collective here, with a strength that attracts customers because there is more than one player

Mayville, located as the first commercial and industrial space outside Durban’s traditional CBD and around the original toll gate that marked the entry into the city, has a chequered history linked to South Africa’s apartheid system.

Neighbouring Cato Manor became a recognised zone when Africans began settling in the area during the 1920s, renting land from Indian landlords who had been there since the early 1900s. However, under the Group Areas Act, Cato Manor was declared a white area and became the site of riots and unrest as informal settlements were levelled and poorer black and Indian residents forced to relocate to KwaMashu or Chatsworth respectively.

In the 1990s the area again began coming to life when the Cato Manor Development Association was formed to deliver infrastructure into the poorer areas emerging again. Funded by the European Union, the eThekwini Municipality instituted the Cato Manor area-based management organisation to oversee development, and today Mayville is home to a combination of private businesses and provincial government organisations, including the departments of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, health, public works and sports and recreation.

Various business clusters also feed off the collective – clothing and textile businesses, home improvement operators and now health-care facilities function as individual facilities, but with the strength that can attract customers to the area because there is more than one player in the industry.

However, like numerous older areas without a dedicated management organisation overseeing the public space, Mayville has its fair share of grime, litter and dirt or many buildings will benefit from upgrades and redevelopment. There is a security presence with some buildings employing private security companies and fencing their properties, but this is not universal.

The recently opened Ahmed Al-Kadi Private Hospital, with 163 beds and an emergency department. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Among the most recent investments into the Mayville neighbourhood is the Ahmed Al-Kadi Private Hospital. The medical facility, which proposes to provide quality patient-focused health care to all communities, has triggered substantial investments in turning surrounding buildings into medical related businesses. These include dentists, pathology laboratories and medical supply companies.

The hospital is located off the N3 on the corner of King Cetshwayo Highway (Jan Smuts Highway) and Waterfall Road, at the top end of Mayville, making the facility easily accessible. The facility currently operates as a 163-bed hospital with an emergency department, four operating theatres, intensive care unit, labour and maternity wards, paediatric ward, pathology laboratory and other specialist departments.

There are opportunities for renting or acquiring buildings and office space within Mayville. Ken Lawson Properties has a permanent board attached to a property in Buro Crescent advertising small business units ranging between 180m² and 370m² for R10000 to R21000 per month excluding VAT.

One opportunity on the market is an iconic medium-sized church building constructed in 1900. The building still has its original stained glass windows in good condition and, with 460m² of space, offers the potential for office space. On the market with both Re/Max and Kopp Commercial, the asking price is R3.5million.

Rawson Property Group has a 1200m² commercial property on its books for R7m. The double-storey building has offices and a workshop, specifically five offices on the ground floor with 500m² of warehousing and another two on the second floor with the same amount of warehousing space. There are two road entrances, making the building particularly suitable for a storage or manufacturing company.

The South African Bureau of Standards operates from offices in Mayville. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Just Property has two properties for sale – a 408m² commercial space in the Westridge area operating as a block of four flats (one each with three bedrooms and one bedroom and two two-bedroom units) for R1.98m, and a 1200m² industrial warehousing space in the Bonela area on the market for R6.25m.

Century 21 has a 3629m² commercial space for sale in Westridge for R12m.

The two adjacent buildings are fully tenanted with the first building being a triple storey offering 1921m² of gross lettable area. This building has eight bays of roof top parking.

A second building is a double-storey structure with 1708m² of gross lettable area and the combined properties provide investors with a yield touching 9.5%.

Within the rental market, Tyson Properties has a 370m² industrial facility available for R40/m². Situated in a secure building with round-the-clock security, the warehouse has a 2.5m high roller door and ramp access.

One of the busy streets in Mayville. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

The company also has a 600m² facility for R40/m² that previously operated as the Mayville post office. The building suits businesses looking for office or storage space and has ample parking.

Just Property has a 400m² commercial space available for R55/m² in a cul-de-sac with off-street parking.

A second property on the company’s books is a 600m² industrial space in Westridge for R55/m² excluding VAT.

Businesses and organisations operating in the area

The Clothing Bank

A registered non-profit organisation and public benefit organisation, The Clothing Bank channels the excess stock – customer returns and end-of-season ranges – donated by South Africa’s major clothing retailers into viable business initiatives for unemployed single mothers. The women undertake a two-year training programme and trade in the merchandise they purchase, at discounted prices, from The Clothing Bank to earn a living.

Fashion Blog

Clothing outlet Fashion Blog specialises in branded clothing for children and adults, but at substantially lower prices to guarantee affordability. Big Eye Branding Established in 2006, the company aims to change the way in which brands engage with their customers across Africa and campaigns are tailormade for specific climates, cultures and languages. Before manufacturing, the company assesses each client’s challenges and target markets and then renders solutions within its 3D studio.

Big Eye Branding is one of the innovative companies that operating from Mayville. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

South African Bureau of Standards (SABS)

SABS ensures goods manufactured in South Africa for both local and international consumption meet the relevant standards of quality and safety, providing the platform for the quality services that are the key differentiator in an increasingly competitive environment.

Malls Tiles Malls

Tiles started supplying tiles to the South African retail market in 1975 and today services both the retail and wholesale markets in South Africa and southern Africa. The company is the largest independent importer of tiles in the country.

Accessiblity and other drawcards 


There is easy accessibility with the N3 national freeway and M13 King Cetshwayo Highway (Jan Smuts Highway) as major entry points and arterial and subsidiary roads feeding into the area.

Established commercial area

Long-established as the first commercial and industrial area outside Durban’s traditional CBD, Mayville offers business owners and investors other businesses off which to generate attention, and customers the convenience of a host of similar businesses in the same area.

Availability of space for rent and purchase

There are a number of opportunities for acquiring older properties for renovation and modernisation before letting out as an income stream as well as premises for those seeking to open new businesses.

A reflection of the old and the new available for renting in Mayville. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography


The informal settlement of Cato Manor neighbouring Mayville provides a significant labour source as a sad indictment of South Africa’s unemployment and socioeconomic problems.


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