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R2bn IT park in Midrand

Posted On Wednesday, 22 August 2001 03:01 Published by
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A R2bn information technology (IT) park has won the vote of the public works ministry as the most suitable proposal for a state-owned 150ha site in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.

A R2bn information technology (IT) park has won the vote of the public works ministry as the most suitable proposal for a state-owned 150ha site in Midrand, north of Johannesburg.
Several Midrand-based commercial property brokers have applauded the choice, saying the proposal suits the prime site south of the Development Bank of Southern Africa's premises, as Midrand is becoming a home for top IT players, providing synergy for the proposed IT park.
Public Works Minister Stella Sigcau named the favoured development last week. This followed a call for proposals last September.
The winning proposal was submitted by Top Di-Computa, a consortium comprised of black empowerment businesses and Chinese information technology company, Top Group.
Led by businessman Willie Ramoshaba, the local shareholders, who together hold a 55% interest in Top Di-Computa, are Mopani Projects, the Gauteng Economic Development Agency, the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce, and the Black Management Forum.
Sigcau said the development of an IT park would create more opportunities and empower more individuals and organisations than the other proposals that were submitted.
The first phase of the proposed development to be constructed over the next three years features an information technology research and development division, a software development facility, an IT hardware manufacturing and assembling business, and an IT-based education and training facility.
The second phase, extending the construction project to five years, includes offices, a hotel, convention centre and recreational facilities.
The education and training facility will spawn nine satellite facilities across the country. This part of the proposal proved critical to the public works department's decision, as it represents further investment in other provinces in IT skills development and training.
Key factors considered during the assessment included financial viability, experience and expertise, socioeconomic objectives, economic empowerment and price.
Sigcau said that the successful bidder scored the most points on all factors except price, 'which is a clear indication that socioeconomic considerations bear weight'.
'Their proposal was well prepared, and finance has already been secured in principle.'
The proposal also fitted in well with the strategic development vision of Johannesburg's integrated development plan, Sigcau said.
The Chinese partner, Top Group, operates through 18 companies spread across the globe.
These companies include two research institutes, five IT training facilities, six manufacturing plants and a marketing network covering 60 cities.
A property analyst says timing is critical to the success of new property developments. The general commercial property market is oversupplied, but the proposed development is scheduled to come on stream in three to five years, when the market is expected to have turned.
Among the proposals that did not make it was one for a productivity park, mooted by property group Ryden International and the SA Institute of Productivity.

Publisher: Business Day
Source: Business Day
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