KwaZulu-Natal’s biggest shopping centre, Durban’s Gateway Theatre of Shopping, says it is working closely with the police to counter the sudden surge in suspicious devices being found in the city in recent months.
The latest discovery came on Monday night when the police bomb disposal unit found a suspicious “parcel” at a Spar in Wentworth, in the south of Durban.
It was destroyed by the unit in a controlled detonation, police spokesperson Brigadier Vish Naidoo said on Tuesday.
He said the explosives unit was called to the scene to examine a suspicious device‚ but that it proved to be “negative”.
Gateway spokesperson Michelle Shelley said the public could rest assured that the incidents were being taken “very seriously”.
“The mall is working closely with the relevant authorities to provide information and assistance wherever possible for ongoing investigation. We also assure the public that we are taking all precautions possible to ensure the safety of our shoppers, staff and tenants.”
She did not say if mall security had been beefed up.
There has also been concern from prominent political figures in the province.
On Tuesday, DA leader Zwakele Mncwango said he had written to the head of the South African Police Service’s Crime Intelligence division in the province, Major-General Thuso Tshika, requesting a formal meeting to discuss the recent security scares in the province.
“The recent reports of suspicious devices found in and around Durban shopping malls should be a security concern to all in SA.”
On Monday Premier Willies Mchunu condemned the placing of “bomb-like devices” in public places, following several incidents over the weekend.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms, the placing of bomb-like devices in public places whose only intention can be to plant fear and insecurity among the citizens of KwaZulu-Natal,” he said.
On Saturday, a suspicious device was found in a Woolworths store at the Gateway mall and earlier in the week, similar devices were found at the same retail chain – one in Gateway and another at The Pavilion.
The device found on Saturday, which appeared to be a cellphone attached to a pipe, did not explode.
On Sunday, two explosive devices were found under two vehicles in the Berea area of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal police said.
If you have information regarding the incidents, contact the police on 08600 10111.