Construction has started on a new Chinese financed R84 billion city in Modderfontein, Gauteng, The Star reported on Thursday.
Work on the first set of 300 residential units and some of the roads were reportedly already underway.
Chinese firm Shanghai Zendai acquired 1,600 hectares of land in Modderfontein in 2013 to build the city.
Zendai South Africa chief operating officer Du Wendui said the development was a 10 to 15 year project, and there would be scepticism about its success, based on artists’ impression of it as the new Manhattan of Africa.
“The project will be market driven, and depending on what our clients or developers want, the sky is the limit. Twenty years ago, nobody would have imagined that Sandton would look like it does today with its multiple skyscrapers,” he was quoted as saying.
Plans for the city include a central business district, churches, a library, hospital and medical facilities, a sports and international conference centre, schools, and low-cost housing, among others.
The project will house around 30,000 families and create about 200,000 fixed jobs for the local community.
The new city is also being built with technology in mind, with PCCW Global, the Hong Kong-based operating division of telecom company, HKT, set to provide technology and telecommunications services for the project.
The group will provide Zendai with a wide range of services including systems development and solutions integration, application development and management, telecommunications and information technology services, cloud computing services and e-commerce solutions.
Zendai’s chairman Dai Zhikang said in 2013 that the project would transform the property into a “New York of Africa”.
“It will become the future capital for the whole of Africa,” he said.