Western Cape MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato on Tuesday visited Canal Walk shopping centre, one of the hardest hit in a recent spate of mall robberies plaguing the Western Cape and Gauteng. Plato and Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member JP Smith met with the centre’s management to discuss the safety measures to be undertaken to protect shoppers during the upcoming festive season, which historically sees a spike in robberies in crime annually.
Plato, speaking outside the mall, said it is important that shoppers feel safe when they step into their favourite shopping centres, and after meeting with the centre’s management, he believes Canal Walk has its clients’ safety at heart.
“As government it is important for us to establish the necessary trust within the residents of the province. But as it was explained to me, Canal Walk has the necessary security measures in place to ensure the safety of its customers,” Plato said.
He said shoppers and community members have a role to play in preventing retail robberies, as they can spot suspicious activity that may lead to criminal activity.
“The public definitely has a role to play, especially those outside the mall that can spot suspicious behaviour before suspects enter the building. They can alert the authorities and quicken the response time of the apprehension of these perpetrators.”
On the issue of legal gun owners being searched and having their firearms confiscated, Plato said in the end it is up to the security measures undertaken by malls to decide whether or not to allow firearms into their place of business. He said that when checking for firearms, mall security usually has no solid indication whether a firearm is legally handled or not.
“Malls are responsible for their own safety measures inside the buildings. It must be remembered that these criminals also use firearms, and it is not for the mall management and security to decide whether those firearms are legal or not. That call is upon the shoulders of the South African Police Service to make ultimately,” he explained.
Councillor Smith said security measures across the City are being monitored for their efficiency. He also said several CCTV systems have been established over the last two years that may aid in the prevention of retail robberies as well as in the capture of perpetrators of these crimes. VOC (Andriques Che Petersen)