A popular Gugulethu guest house where international tourists stay is feeling the ripple effects of the worldwide coverage of the hijacking and murder of a British tourist, which the court heard yesterday had been orchestrated.
“It’s killing the business and it’s going to take time to heal,” Donald Qubeka, spokesman for Liziwe’s Guest House, said yesterday.
Since the incident, the guest house had had numerous visitors cancel their bookings because they were worried about their safety after Gugulethu was declared a no-go area, said Qubeka.
He said the guest house had had visitors from the Netherlands, France, Canada and the US, among other countries, but they were now nervous.
Qubeka said even white South Africans were staying away because of fear.
“People ask me all time, ‘Is it safe to come to Gugulethu?’ and it’s embarrassing. Friends from the Netherlands who were here before the incident phone to tell me they heard about the story and they were not sure they would visit again.”
A group of people from Canada had recently cancelled their booking to stay at the guest house during the festive season while in another disappointment Sanlam called off its workers’ tour of Gugulethu, said Qubeka.
“I felt bad because I knew it was going to affect the business, especially at this time of the year.”
He was not the only resident feeling hard done by.
“The incident has blackened us and as residents we don’t like it,” said Mzwandile Sangweni, who lives a few metres from where the car transporting Shrien and Anni Dewani was supposedly hijacked and Anni was later murdered.
“No tourists are going to want to come here after this thing,” said Sangweni.
However, there was relief among the residents on hearing that the court had heard the “hijacking” was planned and that Shrien Dewani was implicated in the attack on his wife of two weeks.
The Rev Mzamo Gcanga praised the police for their swift work.
Another resident, Noxolo Mntwana, the owner of a shebeen in Gugulethu’s NY 108, was not surprised by the new developments.
She said she had always suspected the driver and Shrien might have been involved in the “hijacking” and murder.
“In the first place I suspected the husband was involved. Why wasn’t he killed?” she said.
About the chauffeur, Mntwana said she found it strange that he had not run into her shebeen, which was open, and asked for help.
According to Thembile Mohono, a middle-aged resident, local residents were friendly towards visitors and it was unfair to give Gugulethu a bad name.
“White people visit Mzoli’s Place and walk around without anything happening to them.”
Another resident, Ricardo Jacobs, said none of the people involved in the incident were from Gugulethu.
“The husband must apologise to Gugulethu residents and spend some of his millions setting up community projects in our township,” he said. - Cape Times