The Department of Tourism and Environmental Affairs (Edtea) has vowed to prioritise the safety of sports fans following a series of complaints regarding theft of motor vehicles while spectators are inside the stadium.
At least three vehicles were stolen during the Proteas-Australia match at the Kingsmead Cricket Ground in Durban on Sunday.
It is alleged that a Ford Ranger, Toyota Etios and a Toyota Fortuner were stolen from outside the stadium. People have also complained about being harassed by car guards at these sporting events.
Some claimed that they had to pay up to R100 for parking on the roadside.
Speaking to IOL, Edtea MEC Siboniso Duma, said they are working with law enforcement agencies to ensure the safety of visitors.
He said Edta regards sports tourism as the backbone of job creation and economic growth in the province.
"Working with municipalities and law enforcement agencies, we also want the tourism monitors to be deployed to national and international sporting events to ensure the safety of fans and their belongings. This is in light of the latest incidents," Duma said.
He added that their deployment will ensure that as tourism monitors they patrol around stadia and other sites and raise tourism awareness and provide information to sports fans and report any crime incidents to police and other relevant enforcement agencies.
The MEC said the recent incidents have the potential to harm the excellent work of all stakeholders who are doubling their efforts to promote KwaZulu-Natal as the preferred destination for national and international sporting events.
Duma recently attended the National Tourism Safety Forum, chaired by Tourism Minister Patricia De Lille.
"The forum includes all tourism MECs, police, the National Prosecuting Authority, department of Tourism and Transport as well as the Tourism Business Council of South Africa and its members, the South African Tourism Services Association, Airports Company South Africa, Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA), the South African Township and Village Tourism Organisation (SATOVITO) and other tourism sector bodies.
“Flowing from this meeting, we wish to announce that as KZN we are steaming ahead with the implementation of the Key Objectives of the Tourism Action Plan as adopted by the National Tourism Safety Forum," Duma added.
He welcomed the allocation of around R174.5 million, from the Department of Transport, train more than 2 200 tourism monitors across the country during this financial year.
"As KZN we have undertaken to make a submission to national in order to access this budget. We want to train our own tourism monitors who will be deployed to top tourist attractions and our parks under our entity Ezemvelo Wildlife.
"As it was explained by the Minister of Tourism, we agree with several tourism ministers from all over the world that visitors should be protected at all costs. It is true that South Africa is no different. Many countries are grappling with issues of crime and wars which affects visitors. These are matters raised by the Minister during our forum and we all agreed with her sentiments," Duma said.
He said thus far, his department had contributed R10m towards the provincial budget which is earmarked to strengthen a united front against crime.
"We want to tap into the work of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on the C-More tracking device. The plan is to incorporate this technology into the Secura app that has been set up by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa," Duma said.
The MEC explained that the app integrates affordable emergency medical responses, breakdowns and crime-related incident assistance. The Secura App connects travellers and tourism stakeholders to hundreds of emergency service providers when every second counts.
"We will engage with the National Minister to ensure that both Tourism KwaZulu-Natal and Moses Kotane Institute of Technology find a way of rolling out this technology aggressively in KZN to ensue the safety of our tourists," he said.