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Shakaskraal: Convenient and established

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The town is in the path of the North Coast expansion drive and offers investors land at good prices

Situated 10km inland from Ballito, and as a predominantly Indian settlement on the outskirts of the previously white “sugar town” of Umhlali, Shakaskraal is a tiny blip on the map where blinking as you pass through is not recommended.

Surrounded by sugar cane farms, there is an old world nostalgia when driving down its one main street – many of the buildings have remained unchanged in the decades since they were constructed and it is obvious that generations have owned and worked in the same shops and businesses.

Historically, Shakaskraal was part of King Shaka’s royal military homestead, and cultural sites in the area mainly relate to that establishment but include Indian traditional buildings and sites.

The Shakaskraal Masjid (mosque) is one of the town’s landmarks and is easily identifiable by its domed towers. It is opposite the town’s hardware and building supply store, uShaka Megabuild. Shakaskraal is central to both Ballito on the coast and KwaDukuza (formerly Stanger) further inland.

Situated on the R102, it can be accessed from the N2 in either direction. In 2013, Pioneer Foods officially opened its R470 million Sasko bakery in Shakaskraal, a facility equipped to produce more than 200 000 loaves daily to service most of KwaZulu-Natal and credited with being the largest bakery in South Africa.

At the time, Sasko’s corporate affairs group executive, Lulu Khumalo, said the facility would eventually replace the KwaDukuza one, but they would ensure those 200 long-term workers remained employed within the company.

The modern factory has adopted green technologies and eco-friendly processes to enable Pioneer Foods to reduce its environmental impact. The bakery has translucent sheets in its roof to reduce electrical lighting needs and reflective roof sheets to reduce the need for internal cooling; harvests rainwater for truck washing and irrigation, and uses renewable-resource fired boilers and heat recovery on refrigeration equipment to preheat water.

In 2017, Shree Property Holdings broke ground on a mega mixed-use project at Shakaskraal. At the time operations manager, Craiglen Naidoo said the initiative introduced a new dimension to the company as its first venture into the residential housing market.

The company aimed to bring 4 000 low to middle-income dwellings to the market within the following five to seven years. Located at Woodmead, Shakaskraal, the development comprises industrial, commercial and residential developments within an emergent business and manufacturing hub, expected to attract significant migration levels.

The industrial component, called Pran Park Shakaskraal, is a 250 000m² serviced greenfield site with seven platforms available for industrial development. Naidoo says the initiative is poised to unlock new industrial opportunities in response to government calls to promote further growth in the local manufacturing sector.

The 80 000m² commercial element will introduce large-scale retailers to the area. The intention is to provide a strip mall facility with 250 00m² under roof and attached to a new taxi rank.

“With greater Durban’s potential for substantial business growth, we recognised Woodmead was perfectly positioned close to excellent air and road transport routes to meet the business community’s every need,” Naidoo says. There are vast tracts of vacant land and farms on the market, with prices ranging from R1.69m for 1 012m² to R1.995m for 6 931m² and R4.8m for 40 000m².

Opportunities with easy access to airport, Durban and ports

Land for development

Land being primed for development in Shakaskraal. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Surrounding Shakaskraal is the North Coast farming community, dominated by sugar cane. As urbanisation picks up pace and land use changes, the demand for converting sugar cane fields into commercial property developments has grown. Investors have substantial opportunities to acquire land and attract new large-scale enterprises, warehouses and factories.

Convenient location

Shakaskraal has easy access to King Shaka International Airport and the Dube Tradeport for exports and imports, as well as the N2 traversing the north and south coasts. It is close to Ballito and Umhlali and has easy access to the Durban and Richards Bay ports.

Labour

The reality of a struggling economy is the availability of labour. The poor communities in and around Shakaskraal offer investors and developers access to unskilled and semiskilled workers, while Ballito and Umhlali provide skilled and managerial employees.

A collection of signboards is evidence that commercial investors are taking an interest. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Pathway of the North Coast expansion drive

The KwaZulu-Natal North Coast has become South Africa’s fastest-growing economic hub as industrial group Tongaat Hulett has released former sugar cane land for development. In the heart of farmland, and only 10km from Ballito, Shakaskraal is in the path of the North Coast expansion drive and offers an opportunity for visionaries to secure land at prices lower than those paid for the tracts already under construction or development.

Close to Ballito and Umhlali

Its proximity to Umhlali and Ballito means Shakaskraal has easy access to outstanding social and economic infrastructure, including schools, entertainment and shopping. Investors can live in the more developed towns while building or working in new Shakaskraal developments.

Tap into the tourism market

The North Coast has many sites of historic value, including the Zulu Cultural Trail and the Chief Albert Luthuli Museum. There are opportunities for investors to build commercial enterprises around tourism.

National brands have a stake in the area

Pioneer Foods is among companies with significant investments in Shakaskraal. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

Pioneer Foods

Established in 1997, Pioneer Foods is one of South Africa’s largest producers and distributors of a range of branded foods and beverages. The group, which provides wholesale, retail and informal trade customers with household names such as WeetBix, Liqui-Fruit, Ceres, Sasko, Safari, Spekko and White Star, exports to 60 countries.

S.E. Manga & Sons

An old-fashioned general dealer, S.E. Manga & Sons supplies Shakaskraal residents with fresh fruit and vegetables, wholesale goods and the general convenience of a corner cafe.

The essentials for daily living in one place – petrol and food – at S.E. Manga and Sons. Picture: Terry Haywood Photography

PEP Stores

Founded in 1965, PEP Stores is a multinational retail company operating in 11 southern African countries. It owns and operates the region’s largest clothing factory, where the bulk of its merchandise is manufactured. The company’s target market is the lower to middle-income consumer and it is the largest single-brand retailer in South Africa.

Shoprite Checkers

Multinational retailer Shoprite Checkers has grown into Africa’s largest food retailer, with more than 500 outlets and 22 million shoppers. The group provides numerous smaller communities with a variety of food products, household goods and small appliances.

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