The Australian government’s department of foreign affairs and trade spared no detail as they issued a recent travel warning against South Africa.
The travel advisory website smartraveller.gov.au urges visitors to “exercise a high degree of caution because of the high level of serious crime.” It goes on and says that there is a threat of terrorism in South Africa, that people should be cautious when using public transport (and avoid minibus taxis because the drivers are often unlicensed, among other things), that large gatherings should be avoided and that the rate of HIV/AIDS in South Africa is very high and that visitors should “exercise precautions with activities exposing you to risk of infection. Under safety and security they inform you that visitors won’t get the same level of service from police as they would in the land down under, that travelling to the CBD should be avoided and very important, when travelling by car one should keep the doors locked, windows shut and valuables out of sight.
The South African government responded to these warnings by denying it all: A media statement by DIRCO (Department of International Relations and Cooperation) said that South Africa strongly objects to the travel advisory issued by Australia and that it has the potential to not only deter Australians from visiting South Africa, but also to tarnish our country’s image. In the statement it says that officials from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation have in the past requested, without success, that the advisory be amended to reflect the situation in South Africa as it relates to the true experiences of foreign tourists.
– News 24 & SA News Today & Yesterday