A partnership between the South African Council for Shopping Centres (SACSC) and the Department of Construction Economics in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology (EBIT) at the University of Pretoria (UP), has resulted in the founding of a Chair in Shopping Centre Studies. This is the first Chair of its kind in South Africa. The Dean of the Faculty, Prof Sunil Maharaj, is proud of this partnership and congratulated Ms Nomzamo Radebe, CEO of JHI and incumbent President of the SACSC, on the ground-breaking and innovative display of leadership by the SACSC.
Ms Amanda Stops, CEO of the SACSC, confirmed that they are 'committed to empowerment, equity and transformation opportunities'. Prof Chris Cloete, who will head the Chair in Shopping Centre Studies, is excited about the possibilities this development will offer for students.
This Chair in Shopping Centre Studies will provide students an opportunity to produce pioneering research. In addition to research, the option to specialise in shopping centres will be introduced in the BSc(Hons) and MSc in Real Estate from 2017. It is envisaged that this will help alleviate the shortage of professional shopping centre managers in South Africa. Candidates are encouraged to apply for bursaries to support them in doing these programmes.
Prof Cloete has been actively involved in training shopping centre managers nationally, in association with the SACSC, since 1993. More than 1 200 participants have benefitted from two collaborative courses, namely the Certificate in Shopping Centre Management (CSCM) and the Advanced Certificate in Shopping Centre Leadership (ACSCL). In 2015 Prof Cloete also played a leading role in training lawyers preparing to participate in the recently established Commercial Lease Arbitration Tribunal.
South Africa has the sixth highest number of shopping centres in the world. Over 2 000 centres offer 23 million square metres of shopping space. The shopping Centre has become a prominent feature and integral part of the modern urban landscape and also plays a stimulating role in the development of previously underdeveloped areas. The Department of Construction Economics is committed to making this partnership a success and is developing a Centre of Excellence with the SACSC so that together they may make a distinct contribution to the country.