The Mpumulanga towns of Graskop and Sabie have seen tourism associations warning travelers to be vigilant following an alarming rate of criminal incidents happening in the area, some perpetrated by criminals posing as traffic officers.
“Following a number of robberies of tourists along the roads around Graskop and Sabie at the long weekend, Kruger Lowveld Tourism is taking the matter up at the highest possible levels to secure strong government and police intervention,” said Kruger Lowveld Chamber of Business and Tourism’s Lisa Sheard.
“A high-level priority meeting of government, law-enforcement and private sector stakeholders was held, where existing structures were reinforced and additional measures were proposed and implemented.”
Vehicles some belonging to tourists have been robbed of passports, wallets, phones and luggage over the last two weeks with more than six incidents recorded.
Hoedspruit Tourism Association has urged residents and tourists to also be vigilant.
“Some of these incidents have directly involved tourists being targeted,” the association said.
“MTPA Tourism Safety office, the SAPS, Kruger Lowveld Tourism, local tourism organisations, as well as several national organisations have been involved in supporting the victims; obtaining information in the hope that it may lead to a speedy arrest of the perpetrators; and raising visibility of police and security on affected routes.”
SAPS spokesperson Col Mtsholi Bhembe said: “We are still investigating the incidents and no arrests have been made. We are appealing for information. Some complainants reported reflective jackets were being worn and the perpetrators are posing as traffic officers and tour guides.”
Koketso Ramorei is a journalist and news editor of SADC News with years of experience in a number of genres including sports, politics and community reporting. He has worked for a numerous publications including The Citizen Newspaper and is a former editor of a Johannesburg-based off-campus publication called The Waldorfian Times.