Making good on the government’s pledge to deal swiftly with crime against tourists, the chief of police in South Africa has called for a massive mobilisation to track down the men who attacked and robbed a group of 9 overseas visitors in Phalaborwa, near Kruger Park, on Boxing Day. A news report also has alleged that a girl of 16 among them was raped.
“A group of at least three armed men are alleged to have forcefully entered a holiday house on a plot in Siloque, Phalaborwa,” at about 8 p.m. and held 9 foreign tourists at gunpoint and robbed them of, among other things, a laptop, 10 cellphones, jewellery and over R5,000 in cash, according to a statement released by the SA Police Service today.
The suspects fled the scene in a rented Mercedes Benz later found abandoned about 10 kilometres away from Silonque (the actual spelling).
According to a Facebook post by Far North Bulletin yesterday, “The group of tourists that were robbed were not all from Australia as indicated in the police report, but some were from Johannesburg while a sixteen-year-old girl was visiting her mom from Israel, where she is believed to be living with her father.”
The Far North Bulletin reported that the girl had been taken from the group and raped in another room.
“The victims and their families have already flown back to Johannesburg from where they will most likely return to their respective destinations.”
The National Commissioner of Police, General Khehla John Sitole, said the mobilisation comes after the departments of police and tourism discussed ways “to decisively deal with crime against tourists, both foreign and domestic.
“Among the pledges made was increased police visibility in hotspot areas as well as to train the existing Tourist Monitors as police reservists which will help serve as a force multiplier at tourist destinations,” he said.
The police appealed to anyone with information on this latest crime to please either contact the SAPS Crime Stop number 086 00 10111 or information may be provided via the MySAPSApp. “Callers/users may remain anonymous and all information will be treated with strictest confidence.”