Opening of mall creates shopping frenzy

2014-11-28 00:00

THE grand opening of Brookside Mall, on the corner of the N3 and Chota Motala Road, got Pietermaritzburg shoppers in a frenzy yesterday.

Shoppers strained under the bulges of three and four trolleys each.

The parking lot, which has parking for at least 830 cars, was jam packed, with ­security and traffic officers assisting with the bumper-to-bumper traffic in and out of the mall.

Roland Naidoo from Northdale, who ­visited the Checkers Hyper to buy chairs, said: “It’s great that Pietermaritzburg now has a Checkers Hyper store. It shows great growth in the city and its economy. It’s also wonderful for consumers because the mall is situated in the CBD and more job opportunities are being created,” he said.

Nombulelo Ndlovu, who came all the way from Imbali, shared what was inside her trolley with The Witness: “I bought three washing powders to keep my clothes fresh and clean, three bottles of cooking oil, maize meal, rice and other bargain combos,” she said.

Shoprite Checkers divisional manager in KwaZulu-Natal Willem Hunlum told The Witness that they opened at 7.45 am yesterday and the response from shoppers was excellent. Hunlum said their aim was to have the biggest opening in KZN. Due to the large crowds, they were letting in groups of 50 shoppers at a time.

Excited shoppers rushed to try and be one of the first to get the bargains they had heard about. Some shoppers looked bewildered as they seemed to be lost in the new mall.

Another Imbali resident, Zekhethele Xulu, who was concerned about safety since the mall is situated next to informal settlements, felt that the mall will have a high rate of crime.

Answering the questions about safety, Ensure Security managing director Kevin Connolly said the mall has a joint operation centre where authorities such as ­police, traffic police, paramedics and securities will be co-ordinating their duties.

“There’s a lot of crimes occurring in ­different shopping centres in the country but we have put a lot of security guards to prevent crime,” he said.

The opening of the new centre caused long traffic jams in the roads around the mall, including Manning Avenue.

• siso.naile@witness.co.za

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