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US tourist shot in face as GPS directs him into Nyanga

Walter Fischel, 55, was shot and wounded in Nyanga on Friday in Nyanga. Picture: Facebook

Walter Fischel, 55, was shot and wounded in Nyanga on Friday in Nyanga. Picture: Facebook

Published Nov 8, 2023


Cape Town - Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis is set to launch the City’s Tourism Safety Festive Season Plan this morning, just five days after an American man was shot in the face.

Walter Fischel, 55, arrived on Friday and hired a vehicle.

The navigation system in the car directed him to go through Nyanga, one of the most dangerous townships in the country, to get to Simon’s Town.

The tourist was shot in the face and robbed of his personal belongings, documents and clothing in the township.

Fischel, from Connecticut, reportedly travelled from Thailand.

The US travel advisory issued a warning to tourists on Saturday.

“GPS navigation can lead to unsafe routes. Short cuts through townships may be the quickest preferred route but can lead to increased risks of crime.”

It said those travelling to South Africa should investigate routes in advance, stay on major highways, and avoid shortcuts and reliance on GPS navigation apps.

Google Maps told Independent Media: “We take a wide range of factors into account to deliver the best driving route, including road size, directness, estimated travel time, and fuel efficiency.

“We take driver safety very seriously and encourage drivers to follow local laws, stay attentive, and use their best judgement.”

Police spokesperson FC van Wyk said the incident happened at about 3pm in the Nyanga area. Police are investigating.

“A case of attempted murder and robbery with a firearm was registered at Mowbray (he was transferred to a medical facility which falls under the Mowbray police precinct), and will be transferred to Nyanga for further investigation.

“No arrest as yet as investigation continues. Further investigation will be by the provincial detectives’ serious and violent crimes unit.”

Nyanga Community Policing Forum’s Dumisani Qwebe said the shooting happened near the busy bus and taxi terminus.

“He managed to get to Nyanga police station, what is important is that he survived.

“The suspects were just opportunists who saw someone who is a tourist and thought to rob him.”

Finance and Economic Opportunities MEC Mireille Wenger said tourism contributes significantly to the provincial economy and to job creation; that is why every tourist is precious.

“We are appalled by this violent attack. We are working closely with City law enforcement, car hire companies and role-players responsible for the routes near the airport.

“We take safety of residents and visitors to the province very seriously, and have mobilised one of the biggest safety campaigns.

“As we prepare for a busy summer season, we will continue to work hard and allocate resources to keep people in the province safe.”

This morning Hill-Lewis will be joined by Safety and Security Mayco member JP Smith, the Law Enforcement operational command, the SAPS, Table Mountain National Park, CIDs, and Neighbourhood Watches.

Included in the Tourism Safety Plan is a special deployment of personnel to tourism hot spots in the CBD, Bo-Kaap, and Table Mountain National Park.

Anyone with information about the shooting can call Crime Stop on 08600 10111.