The opening of the Mall of Africa in Midrand on 28 April caused a traffic headache for the users of the N1 freeway, as long queues developed near the Allandale offramp. Visitors were backed up in traffic from 6 am in the morning.
Johannesburg Metro Police were not around to control the traffic in the morning. However, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department says they have been well prepared for the opening of the mall.
The mall has 300 stores and, at 116 000 square metres, is the biggest single phase mall to be built in Africa.
Edna Mamonyane, spokesperson for the SAPS, says over 40 metro police officers have been deployed to the mall. “Whenever a new mall opens or there is a big festival we anticipate a large crowd,” she says. “There is a huge traffic jam on the N1 highway and Allendale road which started at 6am in the morning with people visiting the Mall of Africa.”
While there’s no figure available yet of how many people have made their way to the mall’s opening day, Mamonyane says visitors who are parked outside the mall are for a nasty surprise.
“People who are impatient have parked their cars illegally, on pavements or on the off-ramp on Allendale road,” she says, “Many of these cars have had to be towed and those who are done shopping will find their cars missing and be faced with a R2 500 fine for impounding.”
Momonyane says that is not the only fines they will receive, as there are also a fines for obstruction.
“Perhaps it would have been better if the mall was opened on Wednesday 27 April during the Freedom Day holiday but opening during a regular day during the week means those who are travelling to work will also be affected,” she says.
Pictures at the mall show hundreds of people standing in a snaking queue, many of whom were waiting outside stores like Game‚ Dion Wired and Incredible Connection which were having opening day sales.
Mall of Africa looking like the '94 elections right about now pic.twitter.com/KLOALBWP3Q
— Tebello Motsoane (@SHOWtibzLOVE) April 28, 2016