Humour ran at its highest levels in the naming of the travel routes in an area where flat properties are a rare occurrence
Located as a lower-income zone bordered by Queensburgh and Chatsworth, Shallcross is home to a strong Indian community where families may have lived at the same address for several generations.
Today Indian South Africans still account for 85% of the Shallcross population, with Zulus the majority of the balance. Residentially the neighbourhood has strengths in its proximity and easy access to Queensburgh and the Durban south industrial basin – and its street names subtle amusement.
Names like Everest Street, Himalaya Drive, Magaliesberg Street, Kilimanjaro Road, Drakensberg Road, Peak Street and Alpine Street have a specific meaning when traversing a neighbourhood where a flat property is rare.
Yet the sad dichotomy of the country’s shifting economics has seen the neighbourhood swell with informal settlements across the road from older brick-and-mortar houses.
The multimillion-rand The Ridge @ Shallcross Shopping Centre promises a family-orientated centre focused on serving the local communities of Shallcross and Chatsworth – yet on the opposite side of Shallcross Road are thousands of shacks and spaza shops also catering to the local community.
The centre participates in a security initiative between the local police and private security companies to help combat crime in the Shallcross and Chatsworth areas as part of its community development programme.
Recent posts on the community’s crime watch Facebook page, Shallcross Crimeforum, indicate the tight-knit community wants to boost safety and security, particularly against land invasion, to secure its property values and business interests.
One solution was to prevent people from entering the area by blocking access points. Last year, following the tragic shooting of 9-year-old Sadia Sukhraj during a botched hijacking, community members formed the Drakensberg, Atlas, Appenine, Pyrenees and Sierra Madras Street (Daaps) Neighbourhood Watch.
The initiative aims to make the neighbourhood safer. In an interview posted online shortly after the initiative began, Daaps interim chairperson Manoj Anandhaw said crime in the zone had been reduced to zero due to the dedication of patrollers and residents.
Recent commercial development and investment into Shallcross include new warehousing facilities now home to largescale businesses like SMR Logistics, Bargain Steel, Saga’s Motor Repairs and the Storage and Hire Centre, and creating employment opportunities for local residents.
Smaller strip mall developments, like the Harinagar Business Centre and Joy’Deen Centre, operate alongside larger shopping centres but offer commercial space for one-man outlets occupying 8m² to 10m² to retail airtime and cellular phone repair shops, spazas and the traditional corner cafe.
Beauty salons, doctors’ rooms and dentists operate from converted and mixed-use residential housing, promoting a local economy and retaining wages earned within the community. Potential investors have a fairly wide range of options into Shallcross, including vacant land and properties to purchase or rent.
Currently, a 2 744m² vacant plot is available for R1.2 million with the land zoned for a church. A 684m² piece of land in Harinagar Drive carries a R270 000 price tag, and a 1 582m² property in Jalaram Street is available for R495 000. Zoned residential, the property can be developed to accommodate several units for rental income.
According to www.myroof.co.za, an online property portal specialising in finding user-friendly ways for banks to dispose of repossessed properties, vacant land is an affordable way to enter the property market.
It offers investors the opportunity to build to personal specifications in line with the ceiling offered within the neighbourhood. A residential property being used as commercial space offers the potential for a mixed-use building.
The four-bedroom house has 130m² of commercial space (at R115/m²), with the downstairs area suitable for a barber shop and the upstairs as an office or residential.
Local businesses offer quality steel, food and fashions
Bargain Steel Bargain
Steel aims to serve steel manufacturers locally and regionally by selling quality SABS-approved products at the best wholesale prices. The company seeks to develop long-lasting relationships with customers by analysing their needs and servicing them.
Franchised fast-food restaurant chain Swaadisht Foods specialises in north Indian cuisine prepared by an authentic Eastern chef. Translated from Sanskrit, swaadisht means “tasty or delicious” and, coupled with the quality meals and generous portions, the company’s menus boast 117 dishes. The company is also a proud holder of the Coca-Cola Best Bunny competition title.
The Durban-based retailer Clothing Junction strives to provide quality clothing at affordable prices and is steadfastly growing its branch network.
Clothing retailer Fashion Fusion aims to become the main destination for global brands and leading chain store fashion at affordable prices. The company currently has 44 stores as it tackles a tough, competitive market.
The independent dealer buys, pawns and sells anything of value, promising customers to pay the highest prices for gold, silver and diamond jewellery. The outlet also trades in cars, bakkies, trucks, boats, quad bikes, power tools, cellphones, laptops, general tools and unwanted furniture.
Advantages offered by the area
While an established community, there is land available for development. There are also tracts currently affected by illegal land invasion and these areas could potentially be used commercially.
The reality of a country struggling with high unemployment rates is the availability of labour. The growing community living in informal shacks throughout Shallcross, coupled with the longstanding residents, will provide a source of labour for investors.
Access to infrastructure routes
The neighbourhood has access to the major arterial routes for commerce and industry. These include the Hans Dettman Highway, the M7 and M13 highways, Underwood Road and the N3/N2 national freeway. There are also extensive, active taxi routes operating into and around the neighbourhood to accommodate public transport requirements.
Shallcross has a long history as an Indian community with generations having lived in the neighbourhood over time. The size of the market and sense of supporting local business provide sound reasons for investing in and developing commerce.