‘Why the silence?’

Chantal Hendricks, Beacon Valley

On Sunday April 10 I went to Woolworths at Liberty Promenade mall, was in there for about 30 minutes, came back and my wheel was clamped.

The spot where we parked, someone else just pulled out and the parking attendant showed us to park there.

My husband and I had to walk around finding out who clamped the wheel. Eventually we were told that we needed to go to the security’s office inside the mall. We spoke to the man who advised that we parked on what they call a pedestrian walkway. I advised that the attendant had showed us to park there and we assumed it was okay.

He advised it was an illegal parking bay and he can assure me that when you park there your wheel will be clamped and I advised him that I’ve parked there numerous times and it was never clamped.

I then proceeded to explain to him that I need to get home as my mom had informed me my dad is not well and explained to him that my dad has stage 5 kidney failure and heart failure and I need to rush him to hospital as my mom was concerned.

I explained the severity of my dad’s condition and he and his colleague didn’t take note of me and thought it was a joke that I was hysterical. The one even laughed and explained to someone else I’m going on over a clamped wheel.

I said I’ll pay the R250 release fee (but) they didn’t have a card facility (so) I had to walk to the ATM. He assured me when I get back the wheel will be released. I paid, got to my car and the clamp was still on. By then my mom had called me to say my dad doesn’t look good.

We found security showed them my receipt they had the wrong set of keys, they had to go and find the person that had the keys.

My mom and some neighbours tried to get an ambulance but they refused to come out as it’s a red zone area and asked that we call the police for escort. Eventually after more than an hour from start to finish my wheel was unclamped and when I got home my dad was having a seizure.

I started CPR and we got hold of ER24 who had to come from Kuils River. They were 15 minutes out. By the time they were eight minutes away, my dad died in my arms.

The man at the Liberty Promenade office delayed me from getting my dad to hospital. I went back the next day and there were cars parked there with no clamps. I spoke to the manager who advised me that for the whole Promenade they only have six clamps.

The manager for all night and day security promised to investigate and to date never got back to me with their findings regarding their investigation.

I have sent him numerous emails and called him as well and no response. I was made aware that the man at the Liberty Promenade office has been dismissed because of what happened on that Sunday April 10.

Why the silence? Why no communication from management? Why did the CEO of all people call me and harass me?

I lost my dad that day because a security guard thought that he had the right to decide how quickly my wheel can be unclamped and for me to get my dad the medical care that he so badly needed.

Almost three months later still no word from security, no letter of apology, no letter of condolences. No amount of money will ever be enough for the loss that my family and I suffered. My dad was the breadwinner and now my mom is left with no income. I know we all have our time on this earth but I ask myself every day ‘what if I got home sooner rather than later?’

Brenda Bibby, General manager of Liberty Promenade responds:

When the incident with Ms Hendricks occurred, our team immediately implemented a thorough investigation to understand what had transpired.

The investigation was handled diligently and with attention to detail. Our management team reviewed the results of the investigation and found that the appropriate procedure was followed at the time.

A senior member of our management team has had numerous conversations with Ms Hendricks and expressed our sincere condolences for her loss, which we reiterate here.

We acknowledge that this is a deeply personal matter involving a person who is grief stricken.

While we disagree with the contents of Ms Hendrick’s letter, we respectfully repeat that our doors are open, as they always have been, should she wish to engage further with us on this matter.