First they said our white farmers aren’t safe. Now they say it’s the entire country. SA’s top diplomat Lindiwe Sisulu is furious with the Australians.
She has just voiced her objections to a travel advisory on South Africa issued by Australia.
“The South African government takes strong exception to the Travel Advisory issued by the government of the Commonwealth of Australia, which contains misleading information about South Africa in general and, in particular, about the experiences of foreign tourists visiting South Africa,” said her Department of International Relations and Cooperation, in a news release.
“Minister Lindiwe Sisulu will raise the concerns of the South African Government relating to the advisory with her Australian counterpart, Minister Julie Bishop.
“The travel advisory has the potential not only to deter Australians from visiting South Africa, but also to tarnish our country’s image.
“Officials from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation have in the past requested, without success, that the advisory be amended to reflect the situation in South Africa as it relates to the true experiences of foreign tourists.
“The decision to escalate the matter follows these unsuccessful attempts and indicates the seriousness with which the South African government values the contribution of the tourism sector to the economy.”
Minister Sisulu said: “South Africa remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and tourists in most instances have pleasant experiences of our country.”
She has previously attacked suggestions in Australia that white SA farmers should be fast-tracked through the visa process because they face attack in their home country.
Australia’s travel advisory warns of water shortages in Cape Town, an ever-present threat of terrorist attack, and the perceived tendency of groups of South Africans to break into spontaneous riot. They might be right, though, about dangerous minibus taxis?
The Australian government’s advice is summarised:
– Exercise a high degree of caution because of the high level of serious crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times. Monitor media and other sources of information about possible new security risks.
– There is a threat of terrorism in South Africa. Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners such as shopping centres.
– The Western Cape, including the city of Cape Town, is experiencing severe drought conditions and strict water restrictions are in place. Follow the advice of local authorities, including complying with water restrictions.
– The frequency of most types of crime is increasing. Robberies are frequently reported on the roads and at shopping centres. Visitors to shopping malls should remain vigilant at all times.
– Be cautious when using public transport. Avoid using minibus taxis due to safety and security concerns. Many of these vehicles are in poor condition, drivers, often unlicenced and almost invariably uninsured, drive erratically, and disputes between rival drivers may become violent.
– Avoid large gatherings and demonstrations as they can quickly turn violent.
– Parents and guardians must carry, and produce on request, a full (unabridged) birth certificate as well as a valid travel document (passport) for children under the age of 18. There are additional conditions for minors travelling with only one parent or unaccompanied.
– The rate of HIV/AIDS infection in South Africa is very high. Exercise precautions with activities exposing you to risk of infection. Victims of violent crime, including rape, should seek immediate medical assistance.