The Athlone Community Police Forum (CPF) has called for rigorous security to ensure the safety of shoppers at Vangate Mall this coming festive season after Clicks was robbed of R80 000 last Sunday.
Athlone police confirmed the robbery took place just before 7pm on Sunday November 20.
Four unknown armed men entered the store and two of the men went to the back office where the big safe is located and removed R60 000 worth of coins, while the other two jumped over the front counter and ordered the two cashiers to empty their registers into black bags which amounted to R20 000.
The manager told them that she did not have access to the drop safe where the notes are kept. They then ushered the employees into the back room and left the scene.
Sergeant Zita Norman, Athlone police spokeswoman, said no shots were fired and no injuries were sustained.
Aziza Kannemeyer, chairperson of the Athlone CPF, said mall owners need to provide sufficient security, especially with the upcoming festive season when shoppers carry more cash on them. “Not enough is being done in terms of security. Irrespective if the area has a high crime rate, quite a few communities still shop at the mall because there are no other malls in the area. Vangate Mall is a prime spot for hijacking and robberies of shoppers inside the mall.
“People are getting good returns on their investments so surely they can invest in extra security for the shoppers,” said Ms Kannemeyer.
“The businesses in the mall deserve security and the shoppers also deserve more, if it were not for them the mall wouldn’t make money. This is the beginning of the festive season. What can people expect from the mall that will ensure their safety? The mall owners have a role to play,” she said.
However, Gouwa Waja-Stemmet, Vangate Mall marketing manager, assured customers that their safety remains the highest priority and that they will continue to ensure that all security measures are in place.
“Security procedures are constantly being evaluated and tenants and staff are being educated accordingly. Mall management and security personnel are working closely with SAPS to ramp up security during the festive season.
“SAPS will provide additional manpower during this period, while working closely with a local neighbourhood watch group. Various other neighbourhood watch groups will also participate in a festive season awareness campaign. Private security will be substantially increased over the period, while the mall’s hi-tech CCTV surveillance equipment will continue to play a vital role towards enhancing safety and security,” said Ms Waja-Stemmet.
Ms Kannemeyer warned shoppers to be alert when visiting malls and business hubs.