Technology patrols the mall

February 2010 CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring, Retail (Industry)

Hemingways Mall in East London ensures the safety of its clients and staff with Techwin.

With mall robberies occurring every week in South Africa, shopping centre security has become a critical issue for owners. The issue is exacerbated in light of the violence that invariably accompanies such attacks and which puts innocent lives at risk, says John Loftus, MD of Norbain SA.

It was with this in mind that Errol Boolkin, MD of Data Connectivity Solutions (DCS), oversaw the design and installation of the security system for the new Hemingways Mall in East London. Having won the tender put out by Quad Africa Consulting for the giant complex’s security system, it fell to the specialist security solutions company to come up with a model that would enhance the safety of visitors, staff, stock and premises.


Referred to by its developer, the Billion Group, as the flagship of shopping in the Eastern Cape, the Hemingways Mall demanded a level of security on par with that of South Africa’s most eminent retail nodes. Not only did the system need to encompass the extensive premises of the new mall, 73 000-square-metres in all, but it also had to be installed under difficult conditions and within a tight deadline. “This was one of the most exciting and challenging projects we have ever done,” Boolkin admits. “The specifications and deadlines were exacting and we had to get everything installed in the chaos of a building site, on time, on track and on budget.

“The centre is not only enormous but it contains a diverse tenant mix that includes multiple national brands such as Woolworths, Mr Price, Edgars, Pick ‘n Pay, Dischem, Clicks, Incredible Connection, Boardmans, @Home, Musica, Exclusive Books and Toys R Us. It also offers a number of restaurants and eateries, jewellery shops, an open-air amphitheatre, six cinemas and a training and conference auditorium.”

DCS approached the project from a proactive point of view. The solution was to combine electronic surveillance and physical security with the support of the local and relevant police authority in order to best be able to combat crime. The company achieved this through the use of products from Samsung’s Techwin range, including a general CCTV surveillance system complete with panic element, and more than a hundred high spec cameras positioned throughout the centre. The result is a high-end system that, with its camera, recording and viewing components, makes it possible for active surveillance and monitoring of the entire premises to place around the clock.

Combining the expertise of Norbain SA, which supplied the products from the Samsung Techwin stable, and DCS, the multimillion rand project was executed in just two months. “Considering that Hemingways Mall is the largest mall in the Buffalo City Municipal area as well as the biggest single development ever done in one phase in the Eastern Cape, this was quite a feat,” says Loftus.

As it stands, this is the first phase of what will ultimately become the Billion Group’s Hemingways Retail Node. On completion, the development will offer not only the mall but also a lifestyle and value centre, a 200-room hotel, a residential development of 300 apartments and a 15 000 square metre office block. Accordingly, says Boolkin, the security system has the capacity to expand in the future in order to be able to meet the “vigorous demands of such a diverse shopping centre.”


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