Billion Group opens R130m three-star hotel in Mthatha

PROUD SMILE: Billion Group chief executive Sisa Ngebulana in front of his new Mayfair Hotel

A newly built multimillionrand three-star hotel – owned by a rural-born billionaire – was launched in Mthatha this week and its doors officially open to the public today.

The R130-million Mayfair Hotel, with 96 rooms and owned by Mthatha-born business mogul Sisa Ngebulana, is part of a bigger property development project planned for Mthatha.

His first project, the 60 000m² BT Ngebs Mall, named after his grandfather, was launched in 2015. His Billion Group spent R1.4-billion on the mall.

The development is conveniently located along the soonto-be constructed N2 bypass and nestled between the Mthatha CBD, Kwezi, Mbuqe and the industrial area, Vulindlela Heights.

It is also opposite the Mthatha Stadium, which is also undergoing a facelift, being done by the government.

Another major development close by will include high-rise flats overlooking Mthatha.

All this and more are part of Ngebulana’s R16-billion investment earmarked in the next 10 years for Mthatha, East London and Port Elizabeth.

The hotel has a luxury threeroom penthouse at R10 000 a night, a two-room presidential suite at R5 000 a night, two executive suites at R2 300, as well as 88 suites for R1 495 and several conference halls.

Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle, OR Tambo district mayor Nomakhosazana Meth, Tourism SA head Sisa Ntshona, Western Mpondoland King Ndamase Ndamase and abaThembu Queen Nocollege Dalindyebo all agreed at the opening on Wednesday night that the hotel and the other projects to be undertaken would be a big boost for the Eastern Cape economy.

Ngebulana said while the three-storey Mayfair was a three-star business hotel, the attention to design and detailing would ensure that guests were pleasantly surprised.

Mthatha had huge buying power and a lot of economic potential, he said.

“The sod will be turned this month for the entertainment facilities including two restaurants, a cinema and casino. I want to wrap up the projects within a year.

“That is another exciting leg of many,” Ngebulana said.

The hotel had created many job opportunities for unemployed people around Mthatha.

During its construction, more than 700 jobs were created and there were now 200 permanent jobs at the hotel. Those were in addition to the more than 3 000 jobs created by the construction of the mall.

The good news for the province came amid gloomy unemployment figures released by Statistics SA yesterday.

Speaking about the high-rise flat development, Ngebulana said: “I have a passion for the Eastern Cape and of course Mthatha. I was born here.”

Ngebulana has developed a number of shopping malls in South Africa, including Hemingways Mall and Mdantsane City in the Buffalo City metro, Forest Hill City in Centurion, and had a hand in Baywest in Port Elizabeth.

Other developments around those were afoot, he said.

Meth said it was appreciated that Ngebulana had also spent R60-million on rebuilding roads around his development.

Masualle said the developments and investment done by a local-born businessman were worth celebrating.

The government must make infrastructure more conducive for investors, he said.

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