Woolworths customers were evacuated on Saturday after the discovery of a suspected bomb on Saturday morning. Picture: Nabeelah Shaikh
Durban - The recent spate of bomb scares, which have raised speculation about terrorism in Durban, are now being investigated by the Hawks.

Hawks spokesperson, Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi, said on Monday that the unit was investigating at least five incidents.

But because the Hawks had only received the docket on Monday, he said he did not have further details.

Two explosive devices were discovered in Morningside near Greyville Racecourse, where thousands of people had gathered for the Vodacom Durban July on Saturday.

On the same day, another device was found at the Woolworths store at Gateway Theatre of Shopping. It was defused by the police bomb squad.

Two days earlier, two devices were detonated, causing a fire at the Woolworths store in Gateway, as well as at the chain’s Pavilion branch.

There was another scare at The Pavilion yesterday when a member of the public spotted a “device” in the parking lot. The area was closed off to the public while the bomb squad investigated.

The scene was later cleared and trading resumed, after the mall was declared safe.

Pavilion marketing manager Julie-Anne Zuma said the scare was caused by a discarded security tag which had been found in the parking area.

“This posed no threat, but security protocol was followed as a precaution, to ensure the safety of our shoppers and tenants, in light of recent events,” Zuma said.

Last month, the Hawks confirmed that an explosive device had been found at the Verulam Mosque - after three armed men killed a man, by slitting his throat, and stabbed two others.

KZN Violence Monitor Mary de Haas said that while it was encouraging that the matter had been prioritised and transferred to the Hawks for investigation, until those responsible were caught, there was reason for concern.

“People are jittery enough about the crime and violence, and this just adds to that feeling of insecurity for the general public.

“You can be alert for hijackers, or burglar guard your house, but you can’t do anything about a bomb if you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time,” she said.

De Haas said what was of most concern was an apparent lack of intelligence gathering on the part of the police.

“These incidents need to be taken very seriously, there is no telling if next time a device will be found after it goes off and kills or injures people.

“We don’t want to go back to the 1980s when, at the height of political violence, if you went to a shopping centre you had to go through metal detectors,” she said.

The Mercury