The private sector had to step in for the umpteenth time this week to help secure citizens of and visitors to South Africa because the government is apparently scrambling to combat crime in hotspots.
So says the DA after a number of incidents in Nyanga forced Google Maps to adjust its navigation system to no longer suggest routes through this Cape township.
“This step serves as tangible evidence of the government’s apparent failure to adequately tackle crime, provide essential resources and enforce policing measures to prevent the adverse effects on the economy and tourism,” says Manny de Freitas, the DA ‘s spokesperson for tourism.
In at least two recent cases of crime against tourists, they were redirected to unsafe areas after taking the shortest route on the app.
Patricia de Lille, Minister of Tourism, and Dr. Alistair Mokoena, director of Google South Africa, signed an agreement in parliament on Monday to promote South Africa as a leading tourist destination.
De Lille also said that the National Tourism Safety Strategy was developed to promote partnerships between the public and private sectors in order to address issues of tourism safety in a more coordinated manner.
Ironically enough, says De Freitas, the actions of companies like Google Maps contribute more to public safety than the South African Police Service (SAPS) can.
“The government’s mismanagement, corruption and lack of leadership and development within the travel and tourism sector are important factors that discourage tourists from visiting the country,” he says.
“Despite these challenges, the tourism sector is growing steadily thanks to the efforts of the private sector.”
De Freitas says he will enter into conversation with min. De Lille about this case and steps that the department will take on its part to tackle it.