All Woolworths customers will be searched before entering stores in KwaZulu-Natal.
This follows bombs threats and the discovery of incendiary devices planted at several Woolworths stores in Durban in the past three weeks.
In an e-mail to customers subscribing to its rewards programme‚ Woolworths head of divisions Kay Raidoo on Saturday said the new search process was for the “safety and protection” of customers.
“We realise that these extra security measures may cause you some inconvenience. We are trying our best to minimise any disruption to your shopping experience‚” she said.
Woolworths has also deployed additional uniformed security guards at all stores in KwaZulu-Natal.
Raidoo said the motive for the bomb threats and the devices planted at the stores was “unclear.”
“We continue to work closely with the relevant authorities‚ including the South African Police Service‚ the Hawks’ Crimes against the State unit‚ local and national government as well as our own investigators‚ who are providing input and guidance‚” she said.
Lemok founder Lebogang Mokubela, said while most bomb threats were hoaxes‚ shopping centres and retailers could not afford to take chances with the hundreds or even thousands of lives at stake.
“While empty threats and hoaxes don’t harm anyone affected‚ the mere utterance damages perceptions of management’s ability to provide a safe environment for staff and shoppers‚” said Mokubela.
“The culprits often turn out to be disgruntled employees‚ unsatisfied customers or pranksters. Nobody knows the true intentions of a bomb threat or a suspicious device‚ we have to take every threat seriously.”
Mokubela‚ who leads a township-based marketing group of companies‚ said if retailers had contingency plans and precautionary measures in place‚ they would restore any lost faith by staff‚ tenants and shoppers.