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COVID-19 risks to shopping malls are real - but rural and township centres step up to the plate with safety measures and food parcels

08 Jul 2020

We're in this together

The Futuregrowth Community Property Fund invests in shopping centres in rural areas and townships throughout South Africa. The safety and wellbeing of the centre tenants and shoppers have always been taken seriously - and proactive collaborative measures have been the norm. 

We’re in this together.

Extraordinary times require an extraordinary response. Our people and partners have responded by dedicating time and resources to various initiatives. This is how our shopping centres have stepped up for their customers and surrounding communities during the COVID-19 crisis.

So it goes without saying that, at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, property manager Capital Land Asset Management started introducing additional protective measures to keep staff, tenants, service providers and the community as safe as possible during this uncertain time. And as the impact of the subsequent lockdown on vulnerable communities started becoming evident, a system was set up for the distribution of food parcels to those in need.

Centre measures

Hand sanitisers were placed at all the shopping centre entrances, with centre security guards positioned at strategic points to assist with sanitising customers’ hands. Stronger cleaning products and disinfectants were introduced for the cleaning of all common areas, and more frequent cleaning of all accessible surfaces such as hand rails now takes place. 

The tenants are aware of the additional cleaning and hygiene methodologies at the centres, and, now more than ever, of the need to work together to deal with the pandemic. Management has emphasised the responsibility of tenants for educating their staff on protective and preventative measures, and has encouraged them to increase cleaning within their stores and to make hand sanitisers available at their entrances.  

A COVID-19 educational campaign has been rolled out, highlighting the importance of wearing a mask, hand washing and social distancing - as per the World Health Organisation guidelines. Instructive posters have been posted in all ablution facilities and around the centres, and information updates are continuously posted on all social media pages

Unjani clinics

There are currently nine Unjani clinics on centre properties in the Fund’s portfolio. These clinics perform a much-needed service to the local communities, and have had a total of 105 828 patient visits to date. At the onset of the pandemic, the clinics implemented a process to screen shoppers and community members for COVID-19, and refer patients to appropriate treatment centres for further testing if necessary. This has resulted in a significant increase in the number of patient visits at all the clinics since March 2020. 

We're in this together_Unjani Clinics

Food parcels

It was decided that food parcels would be provided to those in need by every shopping centre in the portfolio, by reallocating some of the centre marketing and CSI budgets. The key challenge in this project was to identify reputable organisations with a proven track record in delivering and distributing food. The anchor tenants across the Fund’s centres were asked to help in this process, and Shoprite provided a list of over 400 organisations nationwide to whom they donate surplus food on a continuous basis. These organisations were vetted, and a partnership was set up with selected parties from the list. In terms of this, a minimum of R30 000 will be donated to each organisation over a period of three months. Further donations will be reassessed, based on the success of the initial donations.  

The first of many of the food parcel handovers took place to families in Carletonville and Mahikeng, on behalf of Gateway Mall (Gauteng) and The Crossing Shopping Centre (North West Province) in May. These were followed by handovers on behalf of Kuyasa and Motherwell Shopping Centres (Eastern Cape), Eyethu Orange Farm Mall, Alexandra Plaza and Heidelberg Mall (Gauteng), Mkhuhlu Plaza (Mpumalanga), and Bridge City (KwaZulu-Natal) in June.  

We're in this together_food parcels

EFFORTS AT A GLANCE

  • Hand sanitisers placed at all the shopping centre entrances and high traffic through routes;
  • Centre security guards positioned at strategic points around the centres with spray bottles of sanitiser to assist with sanitising customers hands;
  • Stronger cleaning products and disinfectants used for all cleaning of common areas;
  • More frequent cleaning of all accessible surfaces such as hand rails;
  • A COVID-19 educational campaign been rolled out at all the centres;
  • Continuous information updates posted on all centre social media pages;
  • Basic COVID-19 screening for the public at the eight Unjani clinics on centre properties; and
  • Food parcels to the value of approximately R520 000 handed out to date. 

For further information, please read the following articles.

  1. Community Property Fund – product page
  2. Community Property Fund website
  3. Unjani Clinic website