Construction Begins on Mbhashe Mall, Expanding Retail Beyond Cities

  • Construction has started on the Mbhashe Mall in Idutywa, Eastern Cape, marking a significant expansion of retail options outside of major South African urban centers.
  • The development is a collaborative effort involving Exemplar, McCormick Property Development (MPD), and entrepreneur Livingstone Nogoduka, aiming to serve as a regional trading hub for the Mbhashe region and extend retail services to communities within a 60-kilometer radius.
  • The Mbhashe Mall is set to feature prominent South African brands and is expected to open in October 2024, highlighting the growing trend of rural retail development in South Africa despite economic challenges.
Mbhashe Mall


Idutywa, Eastern Cape, South Africa – In a significant development for the retail landscape of South Africa, construction has officially begun on the eagerly awaited Mbhashe Mall in the picturesque town of Idutywa. Spearheaded by a collaborative effort between Exemplar, McCormick Property Development (MPD), and entrepreneur Livingstone Nogoduka, this project promises to bring convenience and a fresh shopping experience to the Eastern Cape.

This ambitious undertaking, which broke ground in late October, marks an exciting addition to South Africa’s retail sector, taking a step beyond the traditional urban hubs to serve the Mbhashe region of the Eastern Cape. Jason McCormick, the CEO of Exemplar, expressed his enthusiasm for this project as he remarked, “As we wrap up 2023, it is exciting to finally get started on another incredible opportunity in the Eastern Cape. We believe in the retail possibilities within the province and in Idutywa in particular, as it serves as a regional trading hub for the entire Mbhashe region of the Eastern Cape.”

The Mbhashe Mall is poised to cater to communities within a 60-kilometer radius, extending its #ChangeforGood impact across some of the most remote and underserved areas in the country.

The development is planned as a single-level, double-anchored, enclosed mall, with its initial phase spanning over an impressive 19,000 square meters. What sets this project apart is the caliber of tenants it has already attracted, with several of South Africa’s most recognized brands confirmed, including Shoprite, Shoprite Liquor, Boxer, Boxer Liquor, OBC, Clicks, Capitec, ABSA, Truworths, and the Pepkor and Studio 88 groups.

According to information available on MPD’s website, eager shoppers can anticipate the grand opening of Mbhashe Mall in just 11 months and 18 days, scheduled for Thursday, October 24, 2024.

This development represents the 83rd project undertaken by MPD, an organization with an impressive track record in constructing township and rural malls, contributing to the upliftment of various communities. Furthermore, it underscores Exemplar’s growing presence in the Eastern Cape, with previous successful projects like Lusiki Plaza, KwaBhaca Mall, and Bizana Walk already making a positive impact in the province.

While urban Gauteng remains the undisputed mall capital of South Africa, rural retail is gaining momentum across the country. In 2022, several smaller shopping centers, typically around 10,000 square meters, opened their doors, signaling a burgeoning trend in the retail sector. This growth persists despite the economic challenges, including high inflation, steep interest rates, and the impacts of load shedding, that have been affecting consumers’ spending habits and businesses nationwide.

The construction of Mbhashe Mall not only ushers in a new era of retail convenience in the Eastern Cape but also stands as a testament to the resilience and innovation of the South African retail industry. As the project takes shape, it promises to be a beacon of opportunity and economic growth for the region, ultimately transforming the retail landscape for the better. South Africa’s rural communities are in for a retail renaissance that will bring them closer to some of their favorite brands and contribute to their overall well-being.

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