Due to the timing of the collapse – estimated at 5am – the affected section of Greenacres Shopping Centre, which would have been bustling with shoppers just a few hours later, was luckily deserted.
The accident happened after the sprinkler system in the roof above the Shoprite segment of the complex was triggered and continued flooding the roof throughout the night, eventually causing the roof to cave in.
The incident follows a devastating fire at the complex last year, which gutted two large stores and was believed to be the result of an electrical fault.
A section of roofing near Clicks collapsed several years ago.
The municipality will today investigate the cause of the latest incident. Staff reporting for work at the mall as well as shoppers were turned back as OK Furnishers, Shoprite-Hungry Lion and Mr Price entrances were closed to the public.
Bay residents took to social networks yesterday to express shock that such an incident had happened again at the mall, questioning the safety of the complex’s structures.
Keith Williams commented on Facebook: “Is maintenance at Greenacres a problem? Who owns the building?”
A relieved Pelisa Vanda said: “My goodness, I was there yesterday with my little one. I’m just imagining if it happened then.”
Municipal spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said that, while the mall was privately owned, the municipality could step in to assess the safety of the building.
Greenacres Shopping Centre management yesterday distanced itself from the incident, saying the flooding happened “at the adjacent Shoprite mall”.