Shopping centres in South Africa have jacked up their security following terrorist attack warnings from the United States, Britain, and Australia.
The United States recently warned of possible terrorist attacks in South African shopping malls and areas frequented by American citizens.
The British government followed, issuing an alert warning its citizens of a high terror threat in South Africa.
The Australian government also issued a warning, advising its citizens to be vigilant in areas frequented by foreigners.
Most of South Africa’s major shopping malls took note of these warnings and improved security.
JHI Retail CEO Nomzamo Radebe said they are on high alert at the five shopping centres in the Liberty Property Portfolio.
“Additional security measures have been implemented in line with the Liberty Group policy. We are also working closely with SAPS,” said Radebe.
The malls are Sandton City, Nelson Mandela Square, Eastgate, Liberty Midlands Mall, and Liberty Promenade.
The Mall of Africa is also improving security. The mall’s spokesperson Vanessa Fourie said they are working with security agencies and the police to safeguard their properties.
Spokesperson for the V&A Waterfront Carla White said security teams at the mall meet regularly and cooperate with SAPS and national and regional intelligence.
“In response to the notification of this threat, SAPS has increased their presence and vigilance at the V&A Waterfront, and similarly we have also implemented actions accordingly.”
Menlyn Park management in Pretoria confirmed they are strengthening their security to protect shoppers.
SA government downplays alert
The Department of Home Affairs said on Monday that South Africans should not panic following the travel warning by Britain.
Spokesperson Mayihlome Tshwete said travel warnings were precautions “taken by countries to protect their citizens, it is not for us to panic”.
“Whatever they are warning their citizens about, it doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to happen or it is a fact. Ebola is an example of something that [we were warned about] but never happened on our shores,” said Tshwete.
State Security Minister David Mahlobo downplayed the US government’s terror alert, giving assurances that his department would keep South Africa safe.
It was part of the United States government’s “standard precautionary recommendation to its residents”, he said in a statement.
“We remain a strong and stable democratic country and there is no immediate danger posed by the alert.”
Additional reporting by News24