Johannesburg’s R5bn Mall of Africa, which has over 300 shops, opened its doors yesterday to streams of visitors amid traffic congestion.
Long queues already formed in the early hours of yesterday morning as cash-strapped consumers prepared to take advantage of the special opening deals at Mall of Africa.
Johannesburg Metro Police are advising motorists to use alternative routes in and out of Midrand with thousands more people expected to visit the newly opened Mall of Africa for the next couple of days.
Thousands of people have been flocking to the shopping centre since this morning to take advantage of some of the opening specials at its stores.
Traffic has been severely backed up on the N1 and N3 North approaching the Allandale off-ramp for most of the day.
The JMPD’s Wayne Minnaar says, “Motorists can got to the next off ramp, which is New Road, take the off ramp turn right, cross over the freeway and turn right again to get back onto the N1 south then go off on New Road turn right and go to the mall. That way they will be able to avoid the congestion on the Allandale off-ramp.”
Meanwhile, the mall’s management says it’s put extra security measures in place to handle the influx of shoppers going into the long weekend.
Nearly 97,000 people have already visited the centre today.
The mall’s brand manager, Vanessa Fourie, says they can’t predict when the crowds will dissipate.
“The tenants have put on these magnificent specials so we are anticipating quite a busy weekend. Coupled with the fact that we have got a public holiday on Monday, let alone it being month-end as well.”
There have been mixed reviews from shoppers who say while it was worth the wait, they won’t be attending another mall opening anytime soon.
One woman says she managed to get more than she had bargained for.
“The discounts were amazing, I came here especially for the appliances and got exactly what I wanted.”
Another shopper says she had trouble leaving the mall this afternoon.
“I think they could do with some point’s people in there just to help direct the traffic, but otherwise I think the mall will be an asset to the people in Midrand because for them, to access places like Checkers Hyper, they had to go far. In terms of the other stores, I think malls like Sandton City will still make more money than Mall of Africa.”
Furthermore, the company that owns the newly opened mall says there are sufficient security measures to cope with the number of cars coming in and out of the Midrand centre.
Attacq CEO Morne Wilken says today was an “abnormal day” but he says there is enough infrastructure in place to deal with foot and vehicle traffic in an out of the mall.
“We have plans, sufficient roads and infrastructure to handle what we plan to develop in Waterfall City so it’s an abnormal day. A lot of people don’t know how the parking works in terms of where you can get access so as people get used to it, it will normalise.”
Attacq says it doesn’t expect the delays to continue once operations have normalised.
Wilken added that the mall will attract more development in the area and there is sufficient road infrastructure to deal with extra commuters.
“We’ve done all the measurements to have the best security, we didn’t think something like today will happen, we had a total of 97,000 at the mall.”