The new Mall of Africa in Johannesburg is touted as Africa's biggest mall.
The new Mall of Africa in Johannesburg is touted as Africa's biggest mall.

'Stolen' cars at Mall of Africa were just misplaced

By ANNA COX AND BALDWIN NDABA Time of article published Apr 29, 2016

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Johannesburg - Shock followed reports on Thursday that 40 vehicles had been stolen from outside the parking areas of the Mall of Africa during the chaotic opening of the centre, but it turns out the reports were untrue.

Instead, 38 of the “stolen” cars were recovered by the owners who had forgotten where they were parked, Joburg metro police department (JMPD) spokesman chief superintendent Wayne Minnaar confirmed on Friday morning.

“Because the parking area was full, many people parked outside and many, a good few kilometres away from the mall. They simply forgot where they had parked, panicked and reported their vehicles stolen. Many were found after the mall had closed its doors last night and there were only a few cars left,” he said.

On Friday morning, said Minnaar, there was a steady stream of traffic heading to the mall.

“We have deployed officers at all the intersections around the mall and the off-ramp to control traffic. We will remain there all day to deal with additional increased traffic volumes because of the long weekend,” he said.

The mall itself issued a statement on Thursday saying the cars stolen were all parked on roads and areas near the mall, not in mall parking bays.

Mall management urged visitors to park in designated parking areas, which are secure.

“There is also a full police crisis team stationed at the mall, with 42 additional officers patrolling it for the launch week. The Mall of Africa’s top priority is the safety of our customers and their vehicles, and we have taken every precaution to ensure this,” said brand manager Vanessa Fourie.

On Friday morning JMPD officers were also dispatched to the highways as thousands of motorists started making their way to holiday destinations for the long weekend.

Community Safety traffic division spokesman Obed Sibasa said they were expecting heavy traffic volumes on major routes on Fridday.

“Road users can expect high traffic police visibility, intensified pedestrian blitzes, roadblocks and roadside checkpoints on all of Gauteng’s major routes,” he said.

“We saw more than 1 000 vehicles per hour at toll plazas between Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo (N1 and N3) (yesterday) and we are expecting busy arterials and freeways (today).”

These include:

The N1 between Gauteng and Limpopo.

The N1 between Gauteng, Free State and Western Cape.

The N3 between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

The N12 between Gauteng, North West, Northern Cape and Western Cape.

The N4 Bakwena highway between North West and Gauteng.

The N4 between Gauteng and Mpumalanga.

“Motorists tend to avoid using routes where there is heavy law enforcement and visible presence of law enforcement officers.

“They also avoid toll gates, use secondary, minor roads and prefer to travel at night.

“Gauteng traffic police and other law enforcement agencies will work around the clock to ensure the safety of road users. We have also embarked on intensified road safety education at taxi ranks, heavy vehicle-bus/truck companies, schools, tertiary institutions, churches and NGOs.”

Sibasa advised motorists to:

* Travel with headlights on during the day.

* Rest every two hours or 200km.

* Buckle up.

* Look out for pedestrians.

* Avoid unsafe overtaking.

* Report bad driving to 0860 400 800.

The Star

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