SAPOA conveys concern for passenger safety at shopping centres

Neil Gopal SAPOA
Neil Gopal, CEO of SAPOA,

Whether within commercial, retail or industrial environments, safety of the occupants in the property is at the core of SAPOA’s daily operations.

South African Property Owners Association members with shopping centres in the Ekurhuleni municipality, east of Johannesburg, are concerned about safety in the centres. There have been reported incidences of shoppers being dragged out of Uber vehicles by the metered taxi drivers at Eastgate Shopping Centre, Bedford Garden and Park Meadows respectively. This not only threatens the lives of the shoppers, but of the Uber drivers too and could have a domino effect, resulting in not only shoppers feeling unsafe, but driving commuters away.

SAPOA Chief Executive Officer, Neil Gopal, was of the understanding that the issues raised between the two organisations had been resolved and a mutual understanding reached: “It seems certain individuals are determined to break the law at all cost. This is putting the safety of shoppers at risk and cannot be tolerated,” he says.

SAPOA wrote to the Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni, Councillor Mzwandile Masina, on the matter in November 2018, requesting law enforcement be tightened in and around the Centre and the safety of shoppers protected.

We respectfully request that the City safeguard the shoppers to and from the Centre and deal with the offenders in the area so that the general public’s confidence can be restored, and the safety of shoppers protected,” Gopal adds.

A follow-up letter has been sent to the MMC for Public Safety, Councillor Michael Sun and Police Chief of Ekurhuleni Municipality, Isaac Mapiyeye this month, requesting a meeting to jointly coordinate the efforts of the commercial property industry and the public sector in the interest of public safety.