Nyanga welcomes Google Maps’ decision not to feature through-route on app

Picture: Ayanda Ndamane /Independent Newspapers

Picture: Ayanda Ndamane /Independent Newspapers

Published Nov 15, 2023


Cape Town - The Nyanga community policing forum (CPF) has welcomed Google Maps’ decision to remove its route through the dangerous area from the app.

The commitment came about 10 days after a US tourist was shot in the face in Nyanga on November 3.

Walter Fischel used his navigation system to take him to Simon’s Town. The route took him through Nyanga where he was stopped by more than four armed suspects, who shot and robbed him.

He was in hospital for six days before being discharged on Thursday.

His sister and niece started a Gofundme page titled “Help Walter get home” as his accounts were frozen during the attack.

“It’s to cover my losses and expenses including medical, travel, and other things.

“Any money will help as this will have many direct and indirect costs to myself and family. I still can’t work for a bit. My sister set a goal on the website of $25 000 (about R460 000).

Fischel wasn’t the first foreigner to be shot in the township. During the taxi strike, British surgeon Dr Kar Hao Teoh was shot and killed after taking a wrong turn into the area.

At the signing ceremony of an agreement between Google and the National Tourism Ministry in Cape Town, Google South Africa director Alistair Mokoena said they had begun removing the route that has led several tourists into the dangerous township from its system.

Fischel said it was fantastic that the app wouldn’t have Nyanga as an alternative route to the Southern Suburbs.

Nyanga CPF secretary general Dumisani Qwebe said: “This decision will help us a lot, especially with smash and grabs, hijacking and robbing of people, the numbers will decrease.

“We noticed the worst part of the route was from Borcherds Quarry to Ntlangano Crescent.

“It is not nice to hear that people have been put through such a traumatic experience. Also, as residents we don’t like what has happened to the victims and we have to live in this township that has this stigma attached to it.”

He said the authorities should also look into speaking to Facebook.

“Facebook Marketplace remains the main reason for people to be robbed.

“We have warned people several times before but they don’t listen.

“Authorities should approach Facebook and tell them to remove all adverts from Nyanga and Philippi.”