The country – and KZN in particular – is in dire need of good news, with local challenges and global predictions not portraying a positive outlook. The launch of the community-driven Serenity Hills eco-estate in Margate on the KZN South Coast is exactly the beacon of hope citizens need right now, bringing significant job creation alongside its sustainable living.
The World Economic Forum’s recent projection places South Africa at the highest jobless rate globally. The organisation states: “As the most industrialized nation on the continent, unemployment is estimated to hit 35.6% in 2023. Together, slow economic growth and stringent labour laws have prevented firms from hiring workers.”
However, the solutions-drive approach of the Serenity Hills developers has already tackled this challenge by creating an environment conducive to job creation, with around 100 jobs already created. Despite having only launched in Q2, this R800-million development has attracted national attention for its contribution towards government’s goals of socio-economic development to create sustainable jobs, reduce poverty, and drive back inequality. This, after Serenity Hills was announced as one of the investment pledges towards the ‘Infrastructure, property development and logistics sector at the 5th SA Investment Conference (SAIC) this year.
The eco-estate development is also attracting international attention, with buyers bringing foreign investment from Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Germany. Enquiries from the USA, Australia and Botswana are strengthening the Serenity Hills global brand, with 50% of the units already sold off.
However, Serenity Hills Development Director, Sam Wenger, explained that it’s the ground-up approach that is making a real difference to the KZN South Coast: “We are working closely with the local ward councillors in the area to prioritise partnerships with small local businesses and employ local labourers. Our aim is to try to give as many local people a slice of the cake as possible. By strengthening the local businesses and communities, we’re creating an inviting environment for further development and investment. The approach is not only ethically sound, it’s truly beneficial for all.”
This has been evidenced by several key community upliftment projects undertaken by the Wenger family. Owners of The Packshed Restaurant, the family was able to develop this into a world-class institution by upskilling and employing locals in the hospitality industry. This award-winning fusion food restaurant is now a major drawcard for visitors to the area.
The family also established Sweetdale Skills Center which develops and coaches emerging entrepreneurs to promote self-sustainability and job creation. The Center consists of various workshops, dorm facilities, classrooms and communal areas. As part of the practical training for qualified artisans, the Skills Center provides services to Serenity Hills and, through this partnership, homeowners have the benefit of using these talented individuals for:
- Gardening and landscaping
- Housekeeping and hospitality
Forming part of the Center is the Sweetbike Community Project, a non-profit organisation, operating in collaboration with Serenity Hills, that provides vulnerable schoolchildren with upcycled bicycles. Quality bicycles are imported from Europe and refurbished at the Sweetbike Workshop, employing and upskilling people from the local communities. Once ready, these bicycles are donated to children attending rural schools from Umzumbe to Port Edward.
This not only provides transport for children who would otherwise walk many kilometres a day, it’s instilling an appreciation for biking – an outdoor activity that encourages exercise and exploring the natural world.
All of this is in addition to the 120-hectare eco-estate itself, which offers residents secure living in 600 residential units across three neighbourhoods. Outside of the labourers hired for construction, Serenity Hills boasts top-class facilities such as The Clubhouse, the Infinity Bar, and The Bistro, nature trails, Yoga and Pilates spots, bowling greens, a volleyball field, a golf driving range, a tennis court, and on-site medical care – all of which will create long-term job opportunities for locals.
The eco-conscious designs will include solar-ready homes as well as gas geysers and hobs, LED lighting, and water collection with reservoirs guaranteeing three months of water supply for residents. But further to this will be a Schrebergärten (community garden) to encourage the consumption of locally-grown produce, with fresh bread delivered to homes via Tuk Tuks daily, extending the job opportunities in an innovative and ecologically sensitive way.
“The KZN South Coast is an upcoming business destination with so many opportunities for small businesses. Our hope is that entrepreneurs will see the opportunity on the KZN South Coast through Serenity Hills and consider starting businesses here,” continued Wenger. “There is still a huge demand for creative restaurants, wine bars, artisanal bakeries, deli shops, and more. As buyers move to Serenity Hills, we expect this demand to continue growing, and we hope this ignites that entrepreneurial spirit among local South Africans.”
Serenity Hills is an exquisite, subtropical paradise with Indian Ocean views set amid lush coastal forests and rolling hills. Serenity Hills’ partnership with @home and Weber underscores the developers’ commitment to excellence in design. All units, ranging from 2-bedroom to 4-bedroom freestanding homes, as well as unique Forest Pods, offer superb value for money, with sustainability and community development as the driving ethos.
There are no transfer duties on any of the free-standing units, all of which have private gardens and a single or double carport, with prices starting from R1 549 900 (including VAT). To find out more and book a viewing at Serenity Hills, visit www.serenityhills.co.za. For regular updates, follow @serenityhillsecoestate on Facebook and Instagram