The Welkom Shopping Center in the Free State city has temporarily closed its doors as a precautionary measure, following warning notifications about unrest.
The Welkom Shopping Centre temporarily closed down its doors as a precautionary measure on Monday, following warning notifications about unrest. The manager of the centre, Natasha Styger, confirmed the closure on a Welkom community Facebook page.
Styger said the landlord of the building, which houses a Pick ‘n Pay store – is the one who decided to shut down the centre for the day. Styger says it’s better to temporarily close the centre’s doors for a day rather than not having it for months. She also urged the community to contact her for any further information pertaining to the centre if needed.
The closure comes amidst the eruption of violent chaos in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal over the arrest of former President Jacob Zuma in which protesters targeted shopping malls ransacking them and in some cases torching them. The Brookside Mall in Pietermaritzburg was one such centre that was set alight by protesters.
The situation descended to such pandemonium that members of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) were deployed to affected areas. North West shop owners also closed down their businesses on Monday out of fear of a possible looting situation in Mahikeng.
OFM news reported on pictures of owners shutting down their business in that area doing the rounds on social media amidst the violent protest and looting situation in different parts of Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal.
It is not yet confirmed if the aforementioned Welkom shopping complex will reopen on Tuesday. In recent weeks, the Free State city has had its own share of sporadic unrest – mainly in Thabong – over repeated calls for Matjhabeng Local Municipality Major, Nkosinjani Speelman, to step down. The matter appears to be on ice after the ANC’s interim provincial committee (IPC) in the Free State plead with the leaders of the Matjhabeng Community Foundation for more time to deliberate on the issue.