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Regarding the email about the Ster-Kinekor/Gateway incident

Hi Deborah

I think that perhaps it would be a good idea to share this one out there [see below]. Mass hysteria is so quick to rise up and spreads like wild fire... If they can maybe contact me via 


Haden Searles

Chairperson - Dbn North & Umhlanga CPF (Sectors 1-7)
Chairperson - Dbn Central Cluster CPF - (Dbn North; Dbn Central; Point & Berea SAPS)

message from Haden Searles - Chairperson, Community Police Forum

Hi All

As I’m sure that many of you are aware there has been an e-mail that has been circulating over the past few days with regards an incident that allegedly took place at Ster-Kinekor Gateway over this past weekend.

Please take note of the following press release by Ster-Kinekor, as well as a copy of the e-mail that has been doing the rounds.  Whilst I am encouraged by Ster-Kinekor’s reaction to the alleged event, please take note of the following points:

  • It is the responsibility of Ster-Kinekor to provide security within the area that they occupy within Gateway.  It is a well-known fact that there is no visible security staff deployed by Ster-Kinekor within the cinema complex.  Perhaps this should now be reviewed by management in an attempt to reduce these types of incidents from occurring.  Individuals such as the suspects that were described could then be charged for trespassing and be removed from the premises and banned from further entrance to the Centre.
  • There are surveillance cameras present throughout the cinema complex, but once again, if you don’t have somebody monitoring them, then nobody is going to see something out of the ordinary once it occurs.  The footage is then only good for follow up action and not for crime prevention.
  • How does one gain access to the cinema complex via the Emergency Exits unless they have been opened from the inside?  Then why are there no audible alarms sounding to alert staff that an Emergency Exit has been opened and that there may be a fire or other such emergency taking place.  This is a major security breach in any event and if it is happening then I’m sure that there are a lot of youngsters seeing movies for free!
  • According to my knowledge and after a review of stats, there have not been any incidents of theft or bag snatching from Ster-Kinekor for quite some time.  There have never been any reported incidents of sexual assault or rape taking place at any public toilets with any shopping centre in the Durban North and Umhlanga area, as some other e-mails would also have one believe.  Our shopping centres are by and large safe areas.  This obviously does not mean that basic personal security measures should not therefore be adhered to in these or any other centers.
  • My major concern is that once again, people are happy to send out an unverified e-mail, rather than make a formal complaint with Ster-Kinekor’s management, with contact names and details being recorded from both sides.  Nor was any report or complaint made to Gateway security management or centre management.  This makes it very difficult for follow up investigations to now take place.

Most importantly of all though is the question of why Dbn North SAPS were not called.  At the very least a charge of Intimidation could have been opened and should the suspects be identified later or be linked to any other similar cases, they could then be arrested and charged accordingly.  No complainant, No crime essentially.

I am hopeful that this incident is an isolated event and is being handled by Ster-Kinekor in a responsible manner.  I also appeal to anybody who personally knows who the alleged victim is, to please contact me personally with their details in order for us to assist them further. 

statement from Ster-Kinekor (passed on by Haden) 

14 September 2010

Ster-Kinekor takes immediate action in light of isolated incident at Gateway cinema.

Ster-Kinekor is most distressed to learn via a viral email that some patrons at its Gateway commercial cinema complex were accosted in the toilets by unwanted elements, who gained entry to these facilities via the emergency access to the parking area.

The management of the cinema complex in association with the Mall Management have taken immediate  corrective action to address the situation and the toilets in question have been summarily closed.

Said Muhammed Ismail, Ster-Kinekor’s Regional Manager for KZN, “The safety and security of our patrons is of paramount importance to Ster-Kinekor and we extend our heartfelt support to the couple affected by this frightening incident.

Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to get a full report of the incident yet. We have spoken to all our cinema and cleaning staff as well as to the security personnel present, but no-one was alerted to any problem at all that evening. I’ve not been able to make direct contact with the man involved to get the exact details and descriptions of the assailants, or to be able to clarify the routes both parties took to enable us to access surveillance footage.”

He confirmed that this is an isolated incident. “We have strict incident-reporting protocols in place and I can confirm absolutely that we have not had one incident of customers being accosted or having items snatched or stolen in well over two years.

“So we view this incident in the most serious light, and are asking anyone with information about this gang/the individuals perpetrating these acts against our patrons, to please come forward so that we may do whatever possible to have them apprehended.”

He added that patrons are urged to report any illicit behaviour to the complex management or to the cinema staff, so that immediate steps can be taken.

“We apologise if customers will now be inconvenienced by the closure of these toilet facilities, but are sure they will agree their safety is worth the inconvenience of having to walk a little further to use the alternative facilities.”

Ster-Kinekor’s regional  management will be meeting today with the centre’s Fire Marshall and the Municipal Fire Chief to agree alternative emergency exit plans and to identify the best possible security solutions for the areas in question.


Issued by:  
Trish Downing, Senior Marketing & Communications Manager
Ster-Kinekor Theatres
Tel: 011 445 7802 or 083 252 6445

Read the original email that was circulated