Blessed Gwala. File picture: S'bonelo Ngcobo.

JOHANNESBURG - The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday said crime will chase away tourists in South Africa.

This comes after the death of a Chilean tourist who was killed and his body found with stab wounds in Dundee in KZN, an incident which the party said might scare off potential tourists.

"Crime will chase away tourists, that means for every tourist not coming, jobs could be lost and we cannot allow this. A lot of money is spent to promote tourism but crime is counterproductive, this is unacceptable," IFP spokesperson Blessed Gwala said.

"Not a day goes by without a report of a crime incident in KZN. Crime and safety threats to residents and visitors alike are among the key issues that either make or break a tourism destination. KZN has been marketing itself as a desirable tourism destination." 

Gwala said the mounting reports of crime against tourists, harassment, bag-snatching, and worse still, the hijacking of cars, pursuits from airports and robberies, added to the killing of senior citizens, had sent alarm signals to the international community.

South Africa has a reputation as an unsafe country where you run a high risk of getting mugged, robbed, or hijacked. 

"Our failure to address our high crime rate is costing us many thousands of jobs in the tourism sector. Our message and image to the world needs to be that we’re in full control of the situation, there is nothing to worry about, don’t cancel your trip.

"Many of the crimes can be avoided if one is consciously aware that you are in a different country, as different habits and ways prevail. Therefore, careless displays of expensive articles, wandering around alone in isolated places and being overly friendly with strangers amongst others, can be an invitation for conman to attempt a go at you. Let common sense prevail and let safety prevail," said Gwala.

He said the IFP called on the police to work around the clock to apprehend the suspect killers of Slavko “Kako” Yaksic, 29. A body, believed to belong to Yaksic was found this week. 

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African News Agency (ANA)