Hlahatsi shopping complex thanked community members for their good deed

As we all know that on the 11th of July this year we witnessed a looting spree that occurred here in Gauteng and KwaZulu –Natal which resulted in many shopping complexes and malls in the townships being vandalised and others being burned to the ground. Only a few shopping centres were not touched or affected by the looting and one of those fortunate centres was Hlahatsi Shopping Centre situated in Katlehong (City of Ekurhuleni).

Hlahatsi shopping centre survived because community members who are staying around it protected it from the looters until the situation was back to normal. Today the good citizens of this community were thanked with food parcels for their good deed of protecting the centre by the centre management and various businesses that operate in the centre.

Hlahatsi Shopping Centre opened its doors for operation in 2007, April 27. Tshepo Nobunga who was the commander of the patrolling team that safeguarded the centre stated how it all started.

“We started guarding on the 11 of July at 17:30pm when I heard that they have burned Naledi Mall in Vosloorus, I decided to protect and patrol around the centre which nearby our area. I went there with Lesego Kekana. What made me to take that decision is that I had a newborn baby and I thought if I let people destroy the centre which is in our area, we will suffer severely because we will be forced to go to town and it costs to do shopping in town,” said Nobunga.

Nobunga revealed that this was not the first time he protected the Hlahatsi shopping centre. “In 2019 when there were xenophobic attacks I protected the shopping complex with other 18 community members. So now when the looting started it clicked on my mind that I can do it again with other community members. So from the two members that started patrolling and protecting the centre on the 11th of July other community members started joining us and on our last day guarding the centre which was 25 July we had 387 patrollers or guards,” concluded Nobunga.

Jonathan Levitt CEO of Wein Prop who owns the Hlahatsi shopping complex thanked the people of Hlahatsi for protecting the mall and promised to maintain a good relationship they have created with people during these trying times.

“We are here in Katlehong today to hand out food parcels to the community as a gesture of acknowledgement to the entire community for guarding and watching over the shopping centre by preventing the looters from coming into the shopping centre and destroying it. With this gesture, we are thanking and showing appreciation to the entire community because we feel that this is an example of what should be done. Many people lost their lives, some lost their jobs and some lost their shopping centres throughout South Africa. This is one of the few examples wherein the community stood together to protect the shopping centre. So we are giving out food parcels as a token of appreciation to the community. We are building a relationship with the community and I’m going to work closely with community leaders to find solutions however it can’t be all the solutions because we are one small property in the entire community but certainly we want to play our part by trying to find solutions for local businesses and opportunities for the local community,” said Jonathan Levitt. Malekgowa Khanye a mother from Hlahatsi who received food parcels was pleased to receive the food parcels and she said: “Today was a big day for us as the residents of Hlahatsi ward 49, we as community members we protected his business and we are grateful that he came to thank us with food parcels . May the people of Hlahatsi continue helping each other because that is the only thing that will make us go forward.”

More than 300 food parcels were handed out. Various businesses played vital roles in the donation process of the food parcels include Katlehong Furniture’s, Stambo, Life Lovers and Bismillah which donated 50 % of the food parcels. Capitec bank donated 110 food parcels.

By Lubabalo Roro

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