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Customers will be kept safe – malls

They take the safety of their customers very seriously and are upgrading their security system, management of Tyger Valley Shopping Centre says.

This comes after five men robbed two adjacent Vodacom stores last Wednesday, the second serious incident in less than two months.

Lt Col Fienie Nimb, spokesperson of Bellville police station, said the armed men entered the two adjoining Vodacom stores at around 10:00.

They were wearing caps and masks.

“They fled the scene with cellphones, laptops and wifi routers.”

The white car they used had cloned number plates.

In CCTV-videos of the incident, which were widely shared on social media and by other news outlets, the men brazenly walk into the store, ushering a security guard wearing a neon yellow jacket into what looks like a corner.

Cellphone store workers look traumatised as they hide behind the counter.

Some of the robbers go off-screen, seemingly stuffing goods into a bag while others bark orders to the scared staff members kneeling behind a counter.

The others emerge from off-screen with bags filled with goods and all flee from the store.

Employees seem iced on the spot before frantically trying to lock the door while the lone security man appears on screen again with his neon vest from where he was ushered into.

The whole incident inside the store takes less than two minutes.

Alleta van Wyk, head of marketing at the centre, says they’ve had four armed robberies of this nature since January 2019.

She says they value shoppers “and do our utmost to provide a safe, secure shopping experience”.

We wish to assure our shoppers and customers that their safety and wellbeing is of utmost importance to us. We constantly strive to improve on safety and security measures at the mall.”

Van Wyk says they use CCTV which is monitored around the clock. Security guards are also strategically placed to monitor the centre.

Their car guards, like their internal security guards, are managed by an independent security company.

TygerBurger approached the two adjoining centres, Willowbridge Centre (which has booms to give access to cars) and Willowbridge Village about their security.

Willowbridge Centre’s spokesperson, Lizelle Louw, says it is common practice not to provide in-depth details surrounding security at malls (to prevent further attacks).

She says the incident at Tyger Valley Centre was unfortunate. “By answering these questions, it will seem as if we want to benefit from Tyger Valley’s misfortune. We do not wish to get any publicity, good or bad, as a result of this incident that happened at Tyger Valley.”

Like Tyger Valley Centre the adjacent Willowbridge Village doesn’t use booms.

Pieter van der Westhuizen, general manager of FPG Property Fund, which owns the centre, says booms are generally installed as a source of extra income.

“As Willowbridge Village is a convenience centre, we provide free parking to customers to make visiting the centre more attractive and convenient to our shoppers.”

He says they’ve had two armed robberies this year similar to the ones at Tyger Valley Centre, “both happened in under five minutes”.

One of these incidents was on the same day as the previous armed robbery at Tyger Valley Centre – when two different sets of robbers targeted both the iStore and Food Lovers Market on 31 May.

He reiterates the statement that shopping centres do not divulge security details, but says they use Integrisec Security to manage their safety. “There has not been a repeat of any of these incidents at the centre due to the preventative measures that have been implemented.”

Like the other centres Van der Westhuizen says their tenants and customers’ safety is of utmost concern.

“Unfortunately in the Western Cape, crime is on the increase and our policing measures need to improve so that we as a society can live, work and play in a safer environment.”

Sgt Chriswen Lombard is investigating last week’s robbery at Tyger Valley.

  • Anyone with more information is asked to call Crime Stop on 08600 10111.
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