Bomb threat at Knysna Mall

Bombs threats are scary. They were a bad memory hopefully banished by the official end of apartheid in South Africa. Considering our country's military history, there are those trained in explosives walking the streets. Thankfully, most do not have bad intentions... but in our country that is progressively violent, each threat must be taken seriously. Even more so considering the numerous ATMs that have been robbed through such means and the Befordview bomb blast in 2013 that killed 2.

Unfortunately, they are still used as a means of civic disruption or possible ex-employee revenge, a distasteful method that sends fear coursing through the general public. It's likely these kinds of self-serving intentions that has made the small town of Knysna a repeated victim.

This morning, at approximately 10.45am, a bomb threat was called in by an unidentified member of the public. The target location was Knysna Mall which occupies the longest stretch alongside the Main Road (N2), opposite the Shell Garage and Knysna Tourism. The police and fire brigade were quick on the scene. The building was evacuated. No bomb was found.

A year before, a bomb threat was also reported at the Municipal Customer Care Centre, 2 blocks away. In 2012, Builder's Trade Depot, in nearby Waterfront Drive, received 2 threats. Sedgefield, an area falling under Knysna, had a pub experience a pub scare in 2011. In 2008, 2 minors were arrested for threatening similar damage to Hornlee Primary School. The same year, a bank in the mall had a bank teller finding a bomb warning written on a counter.

There is relief when such hostile action turns out to be baseless but, with violent crime on the increase, and more armed robberies in Knysna, immediate fear will prevail, especially when one has to wonder how a building can be declared 100% bomb free within an hour.

Today, Kashief Ismail, the manager of Knysna, was impressed at the police arriving within 2 minutes and the dogs within 15. He was as complimentary to staff and customers who, assisted by Allsound Security, never panicked as they evacuated quickly.