Police have responded to three bomb threats in the Fourways and Sandton areas, in Johannesburg, in the past few days and are now appealing to anyone with information on who is generating the threats to come forward.
Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed the incidents, saying police were investigating all the bomb threats.
“We are, however, unsure if the incidents have been carried out by the suspects. Police are following up leads to source out information about the caller (suspect). Investigations are ongoing,” he added.
He said necessary precaution measures are being conducted by police to prevent such incidents.
The latest bomb threat was received at Nicolway Bryanston shopping centre on the afternoon of Sunday, August 21.
Centre manager Gavin Balsdon said a call came through the Woolworths store alerting them of a ‘bomb’ that was later confirmed to be a false alarm.
“Police and bomb squad officials were called to the scene, and they evacuated the centre,” added Balsdon.
He said this was the first incident to occur in the centre. The centre is taking precaution measures to prevent these incidents.
The bomb threat follows the evacuation of Lonehill Shopping Centre in Fourways, Johannesburg, on the afternoon of August 19 after a bomb threat was received.
Station commander of the Douglasdale Police Station Brigadier Lettie Hugo said: “Bomb threat received. Lonehill shopping centre evacuated for all safety.”
Hugo added that officers were on the scene with search dogs and were investigating.
By 4.30pm that afternoon, Lonehill Residents Association said Metro police support staff and dogs had arrived to support the police at the shopping centre and no devices had been found.
Nicky Arthur PR said the centre received an anonymous email earlier in the day mentioning a bomb threat. The agency added that the authorities were notified immediately, and the building was evacuated.
After a few hours of searching, the Lonehill Shopping Centre was declared safe by the police. Hugo said: “The centre has been declared safe. The public can return. Sorry for the inconvenience, but the evacuation was done for safety reason. A huge thank you to all role players for their assistance.”
This scare followed a similar one in Fourways at the Standard Bank by Fourways Crossing shopping centre on Thursday, August 18.
Hugo confirmed there was a bomb threat, but it was negative, and police had declared the building safe. Ross Linstrom, spokesperson for Standard Bank, said: “We closed the branch for today (Thursday) for the safety of our staff and customers, but we will be operating as usual tomorrow (August 19).”
Linstrom on Thursday added police were still investigating the issue and declined to speculate on the source of the threat. “We can’t comment on the source of the threat, but would like to apologise to our customers for the inconveniences caused,” said Linstrom.
A customer who was at the bank, Jan Isaac, said, “I was at the foreign exchange desk doing a transaction when the teller told me that I had to leave. I have been waiting for my passport for about one and a half hours now, and I have still not received it.”
Last month, Shoppers were evacuated from the Cash Converters store in the Randburg Square shopping centre, in Johannesburg, following reports of a bomb threat.
Tina White from Randburg Management District confirmed a bomb scare at Cash Converters in Randburg CBD.
“Please note there has been a bomb scare at Cash Crusaders. Randburg Square shopping centre and surrounding properties are in the process of evacuating their premises,” she said.
Anonymous tips can be SMSed to 32211 Crime Line or 10111 or your nearest police station.
These are are areas in which bomb threats incidents were reported on:
– Caxton News Service