Durban - Three German tourists were robbed by four suspects armed with AK-47 assault rifles while travelling to King Shaka International Airport at the end of their holiday in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday.
A passing motorist witnessed the robbery on the N2 at the Umdloti Beach offramp in Ballito and called Reaction Unit South Africa (Rusa) to assist the trio, who are all in their 80s.
When Rusa officers arrived on the scene, the victims, two males and one female, had left the scene to catch their flight. According to their Uber driver, he had picked up the toursists from their hotel in Umhlanga and was on their way to the airport when they were boxed in by the occupants of a BMW and a VW Golf 7.
Four suspects wearing balaclavas allegedly robbed the tourists of their luggage and valuables before fleeing in their getaway vehicles.
The victims were not injured during the robbery.
The acting Chairperson of Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Tourism, Lusizo Sharon Makhubele-Mashele, said tourism is a major driver of the economy, any threat to the safety of tourists has dire consequences.
"South Africa has a lot to offer tourists in terms of natural beauty, sports, adventure and conference facilities. Tourists must feel safe and, most importantly, must be able to tell their friends and family good stories about South Africa and its people when they return home to encourage more people to visit. When tourists are subjected to life-threatening incidents such as this, South Africa’s tourism industry suffers.
"We call on the law enforcement agencies to do all in their power to bring these criminals to book," said Mkhubele-Mashele.