Tshwane metro police, residents protect shopping centres from looters
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Pretoria - While looting took place on Monday night in Mamelodi and parts of Atteridgeville, residents in some areas of Tshwane took it upon themselves to protect shopping centres.
At SunnyPark in Sunnyside, it was business as usual, despite many other business in the metro electing to take a safer approach by closing their doors, either partially or fully.
Mams Mall was looted on Monday night and videos and images of the destruction were circulating on social media.
The Denlyn shopping centre and the new Tshwane Regional Mall in Mamelodi were also closed yesterday. Tshwane Metro Police Department officers were on the scene to protect the two centres.
Executive mayor Randall Williams said he had noted reports that Denlyn and Mams Mall were the main targets for criminals to loot shops.
Williams said despite these threats it was encouraging that many parts of the city were generally calm with no major incidents, disruptions and criminality reported. The City's law enforcement agencies would remain on high alert.
Williams said the City had deployed officers across the metro, particularly to maintain visibility in volatile areas. They were also proactive in dealing with the threats by moving to secure critical infrastructure.
“Our law enforcement agencies will continue to monitor Soshanguve, Ga-Rankuwa, Atteridgeville and several parts in the Pretoria CBD. We are receiving continual updates on the security situation as our Tshwane Metro Police Department teams continue to work closely with the police.”
At Mabopane Square concerned residents stood on guard all night ready to thwart looters.
Manager Jabu Mahlangu said they were grateful for the support of the police and members of the community who braved the winter cold to help keep watch at the centre.
“Nothing major happened with us as our community stood in solidarity with us and helped to secure our shops the whole night, even though there was a group driving around suspiciously.”
Mahlangu said they were grateful for the support from the community and had even opened up partially as some shops such as Shoprite and Roots butchery opened for business.
He said that as a precautionary measure, they were allowing 50 customers in at a time to enter to purchase their daily necessities.
Southview Soshanguve shopping centre also opened its doors for business as usual.
Centre manager Solly Masanabo said: “We have opened up for business and do have additional security in place. Initially, some shops were not open in the morning but we assured them of their safety and they have resumed business as usual now.”
It was also reported that a group of patrollers spent the entire night “guarding” the Ga-Rankuwa Shopping Centre from criminals who were planning to loot it.
However, the centre remained closed yesterday, with some residents sharing posts of how they were also helping to protect the shops owned by foreign nationals by storing their stock for them.