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Winde refutes reports that seven Cape malls will be targets of violent looting sprees

Several shopping malls in Cape Town in the Western Cape have tightened up their security measures while some decided to close their doors in response to the violent looting of shops in other provinces. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Several shopping malls in Cape Town in the Western Cape have tightened up their security measures while some decided to close their doors in response to the violent looting of shops in other provinces. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jul 15, 2021

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Cape Town - Premier Alan Winde has rubbished claims that seven malls in the City will from today be the targets of violent looting sprees by a rogue group of residents in the Western Cape.

In a statement which he has since shared online, Winde addressed a WhatsApp message that has been circulating on social media, warning people of possible violence, mayhem and attacks on seven local shopping centres in the City.

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The message which has been circulating since Tuesday, seemingly as a security alert, says that a group of rioters would today at 12pm head to their targets and spread into surrounding areas.

The message mentions Capricon Centre, Cavendish Square, Blue Route Mall, Maynard Mall, Parow Centre, Kenilworth Centre and Landsdowne Corner Mall as the targets and goes on to warn residents living in around these areas to be cautious and stand together.

However, according to Winde, the message has been vetted and found to be false and misleading.

He said: “A WhatsApp message has been circulating listing 7 malls as targets today. This threat has been assessed and is not considered to be a legitimate concern.

“All information including threats and risks received are sent to the Joint Operations Committee (JOC) and SAPS for verification, as part of risk mitigation. The JOC confirmed that there have been no attacks on malls in the province to date.

“However, it is the decision of every mall owner to remain open or not but the JOC believes that there is no major risk at this stage and no need for malls to close,” Winde said.

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“The JOC will immediately communicate if the situation changes and remains on high alert with a full operational plan in place to respond to any incident.

“We continue to ask that the public not share unverified information, and rather report any information received directly to SAPS or other law enforcement authorities,” said Winde.

Despite the reassuring statement by the government, Cavendish Square management earlier today decided to close their doors to the public as a precautionary measure.

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The centre’s managers uploaded a brief statement on their social media pages, notifying the public of their decision to shut down until further notice.

Somerset Mall has also announced that it will trade tomorrow but then close from Friday evening until Sunday morning.

“As the situation in South Africa remains volatile, and in the best interest of our shoppers, store staff, and centre staff, Somerset Mall will close for trade today, 15 July at 5pm and reopen tomorrow, Friday, 16 July at 9am.

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“To ensure that we mitigate any threat, Somerset Mall will close on Friday, 16 July at 5pm for a complete lockdown and will reopen on Sunday, 18 July at 10am.”

The mall added that its re-opening will be subject to review of any imminent threat.

In the meanwhile, law enforcement officials have increased their patrols at shopping malls and centres as part of the department’s operational contingency plan.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said: “The City’s enforcement services, in conjunction with SAPS, have increased patrols in areas that could be considered targets or hotspots and we call on the public to report any suspicious behaviour or imminent threats to the City’s Public Emergency Communication Centre by dialling 021 480 7700 from a cellphone or 107 from a landline.”

nomalanga.tshu[email protected]

Cape Argus

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