National task team to tackle spate of mall robberies

As the festive season approaches, an increasing number of malls are falling victim to violent robberies.

A police van outside the Isis Jewellery store in Hout Bay following an armed robbery on 24 October, 2014. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega's office has promised South Africans more safety at malls, saying its put contingency plans in place, to support shopping centres around the country, after the recent spate of armed robberies.

Phiyega's offices says it's set up a national task team, comprising its best police officers in its continued efforts to fight the recent spate of armed robberies in malls across the country.

A number of centres have been hit, mainly in Gauteng, the Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal.

As the festive season approaches, more malls are falling victim to violent robberies, with chiefly electronic and jewellery stores being targetted.

The latest store to be hit is a jewellery shop in Hout Bay, which was robbed this afternoon, bringing the total number of armed robberies in Cape Town over the past month to 16.

Earlier this month, Gauteng saw three malls being robbed in just 24 hours, while scores have been hit in the past two months alone.

Police spokesperson Solomon Makgale says officers are working tirelessly to stop the spate of mall robberies.

"We are in fact confident that we are going to get to the bottom of this. Police are working extremely hard."

At the same time, police managed to foil a possible store robbery in Table View earlier today.

Four suspects were arrested just metres away from a cellphone shop on Sandown Road this afternoon.

Officials believe they were about to rob the store.

The police's Andre Traut says the suspects were found in possession of two firearms.