Pretoria – Civil rights organisation Action Society says the murder of the German tourist is an “absolute tragedy”, but it also highlights the perilous society that ordinary South Africans live in, characterised by violent crime and a worrying murder rate.
Speaking to IOL, Action Society’s director of community safety, Ian Cameron, said the cold-blooded murder of the German national got the limelight, yet scores of South African citizens were murdered every hour.
“I actually want to go as far as to say, why should this (case of the murdered German tourist) get the attention, because this is the reality for all people living in South Africa.
“Three people are murdered every single hour. Yet now, the Minister of Tourism (Lindiwe Sisulu) wants to say something,” said the anti-crime activist.
The Pretoria Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany said it had noted the “tragic incident” in which four German nationals came under attack in Mpumalanga while heading to a lodge near the Kruger National Park’s Numbi Gate.
One of the German tourists, who was driving the Hyundai Staria, was shot dead by the assailants before the vehicle crashed.
Police in Mpumalanga said the German nationals came under fire while travelling along Numbi Road on their way to the Numbi Gate at the Mdluli Safari Lodge. They were intercepted by three armed suspects in a Volkswagen Caddy.
Cameron said the South African government must be held accountable for runaway crime across the country.
“It is an absolute tragedy. I think the South African government should be held accountable for this. Obviously, we want the perpetrators to be arrested, but it is a fact that the South African government has done little or nothing to curb violent crime in the last 20 years, and we can see the statistics,” he said.
“It (the murder) says what the reality in South Africa is, and it doesn’t surprise me at all. That specific road has been a problem for a long time. But it speaks about larger issues in the country and government doesn’t have the will, ways and means to solve this. I do not think they are competent in leading the fight against violent crime.”
According to Brigadier Selvy Mohlala in Mpumalanga, the “terrible incident” happened on Monday afternoon, after 4pm.
“According to the report, at that time, four tourists from Germany were travelling in a Hyundai on Numbi Road en route to Numbi Gate at Mdluli Safari Lodge. They were then stopped by three armed suspects, who were driving in a Volkswagen Caddy,” Mohlala said.
The DA said it was “horrified” by the murder of the tourist.
Trudie Grovè-Morgan, a member of the Mpumalanga legislature and the DA’s spokesperson on community safety, security and liaison, expressed “heartfelt condolences” to the friends and family of the German national.
Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has expressed sadness over the death of the German tourist.
Reacting to the news, which has already grabbed international headlines, Sisulu said she would engage her Cabinet colleagues in the security cluster to discuss the safety of tourists in South Africa.
“I would like to convey my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the tourist who was killed in this incident. I also call on law enforcement agencies to leave no stone unturned in bringing to book the perpetrators of this heinous crime,” she said.
“Our country receives a large number of tourists from all over the globe, including Germany …This high number of tourists is one of the ways in which our tourism sector has been able to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I will engage my Cabinet colleagues in the security cluster to discuss plans to ensure the safety of tourists who visit our country. I condemn this murder and robbery in the strongest terms and call for harsh punishment of those responsible,” Sisulu said.
The minister emphasised that inbound tourism was one of South Africa’s key economic drivers and a provider of jobs for the country’s youth.