'New York' of Africa begins to take shape


Hong Kong listed Shanghai Zendai on Tuesday launched the first phase of an 87 billion rand ($6.4 billion) new city project in Modderfontein New Town, northeast of Johannesburg, South Africa, known as the The Centenary.

Zendai Development South Africa (ZDSA) has now cemented its place as a property developer to rival Johannesburg business hubs Rosebank and Sandton in residence, quality of living and transportation.

The Centenary is said to cover an area of approximately 12 hectares and will be developed in phases, with the first phase comprising 150 apartments made up of one, two and three bedrooms varying in configurations to suit lifestyle needs.


Apartments at The Centenary will range from R1.15 million for one bedroom, R2.2 million for a two bedroom and R2.8 million for three bedroom apartments.

According to ZDSA’s CEO, Anthony Diepenbroek, the construction of a new Gautrain station at the venue is set to begin in the early months of 2017 and will be operational in 2018.

On speculation that the Chinese economic slowdown could impact the South Africa project, Diepenbroek said, “Chinese people by nature are long-term thinkers,” he assured that the recent economic volatility will have very little bearing on the long term as ZDSA will be demand-led.

Diepenbroek announced that there has been a positive response to date with over 250 applications submitted for apartments.  

According to Wenhui Du, who is the Chief Operating Officer of ZDSA, it chose South Africa for this development because it is still regarded as the largest economic hub in Africa and its positioning has more impact on other regions.

Du added that following the feasibility studies undertaken across three years in South Africa, the company is confident about its choice. He said Modderfontein New Town will not only be catering for a high income bracket, but it will later produce property for middle and low income class people.

“This is the beginning and we are excited. Our goal with The Centenary is to provide unique, high quality residential living spaces which sets the standard for Modderfontein New Town in terms of convenience, connectivity, sustainability and luxury,” said Diepenbroek at the launch.

With over 70 per cent of the Zendai Development projected to be residential, the 25 to 40 year development roll-out has time to gain traction and popularity.