US‚ Canada‚ Britain warn about travelling to South Africa after crime stats release

Police Minister Bheki Cele.
Police Minister Bheki Cele.
Image: Esa Alexander

Travellers to South Africa have been warned to “exercise increased caution in South Africa due to crime‚ civil unrest and drought”. 

Britain‚ Canada and the United States have all issued travel.

The warnings came after the South African Police Service released its latest crime statistics on Tuesday. Among the figures were that in 2017/18‚ there were 20‚336 murders‚ up from 19‚016 in 2016/17.

The US advisory continued: “Violent crime‚ such as armed robbery‚ rape‚ carjacking‚ mugging‚ and ‘smash-and-grab’ attacks on vehicles‚ is common. There is a higher risk of violent crime in the central business districts of major cities after dark.

“Demonstrations‚ protests‚ and strikes occur frequently. These can develop quickly without prior notification‚ often interrupting traffic‚ transportation‚ and other services; such events have the potential to turn violent.”

The US government also advised travellers to take note of water restrictions in the Western Cape‚ Eastern Cape and Northern Cape as a result of the drought.

Travellers were advised to: 1. Avoid walking alone‚ especially after dark; 2. Avoid townships unless they are with someone familiar with the area; 3. Not display cash or valuables; 4. Drive with doors locked and windows closed; 5. Always carry a copy of their passports; and 6. Conserve water.

The Canadian government said on August 30 that crime was the top threat to Canadians.

“Violent crimes‚ including rape and murder‚ occur frequently and have involved foreigners‚” that government said.

They told Canadians to avoid city centres after dark‚ especially in: • Berea‚ Hillbrow and Yeoville in Johannesburg; • Sunnyside in Pretoria; • The beachfront and Victoria wharf in Durban; and • Cape Town‚ especially when walking from downtown hotels to the waterfront.

Britain updated its travel advisory on 6 September‚ saying: “There is a very high level of crime including rape and murder in South Africa. The most violent crimes tend to occur in townships‚ remote and isolated areas and away from the normal tourist destinations. Most visits to South Africa are trouble-free‚ but you should take sensible precautions to protect your safety.”

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