Sunday, February 23, 2014

South Africa: Tourists Urged to Avoid Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town Due to Criminal Threat

According to The Cape Times, a suspect was arrested yesterday (February 18) in connection with the mugging of two foreign students hiking on Lion’s Head, said a police spokesman in Cape Town.
The crime victims were not identified, although it was acknowledged that they were both  from Denmark and Austria, and robbed at knifepoint of their cameras, cellphones and cash by four men at 1930 hours on Monday (February 17). They were not injured and reported the incident to the police.
“Cape Town Central Police, with the help of Table Mountain National Park rangers, followed up on the information and with the end-result being the arrest of a 21-year-old Sea Point suspect, although none of the stolen items from the hikers' were recovered,” said a police spokesperson. 
COMMENT: The suspect was transferred to Cape Town Central SAPS officers who also patrol the mountain area. He was detained at Camps Bay police station and will remain in custody until he appears in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court.

SAPS will oppose bail and will also establish if the suspect can be linked to other robberies in the area.
In December 2013, Australian tourist Aaron Joseph Ryan was stabbed when he tried to repel three assailants at Lion’s Head.  He was robbed. 

On April 6, 2013, an exchange student was attacked and his girlfriend raped on Signal Hill. Signal Hill or Lion's Rump, is a landmark flat-topped hill located in Cape Town, next to Lion's Head and Table Mountain.

According to the US Department of State's Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS), the following cities in South Africa have been assessed as "Critical" threat for crime: 

-- Pretoria

-- Johannesburg

-- Durban

-- Cape Town 

It should also be noted that "Critical" threat is the highest level of threat on the Department's four-tier threat categorization system of "Critical, High, Medium and Low."

My personal recommendation is that tourists and travelers RECONSIDER their choice of Pretoria, Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town unless their travel to these cities is work-essential.

Those who must travel to the four cities described above should:

1. Understand that they are traveling to "critical" threat destinations;

2. Should know that the potential of becoming a victim of violent crime is more than probable;

3. Seriously consider staying at their upscale hotel except for business meetings; 

4. Arrange for a well-experienced executive driver who will drive visitors to ALL meetings;

5. Do NOT walk in the four cities described in this report;

6. Hopefully travel to SA with a colleague that has a well-honed sense of personal security awareness; and

7. Realize that violent crime can confront guests even in upscale hotels.