Wednesday, March 11, 2009

South Africa is Now Safer

Looks safe to me.


We've all heard by now that things in South Africa are not exactly going according to plan with respect to World Cup 2010. On top of the construction issues facing the various stadia, there is the ever-present threat of violence. But fear not, this threat has been addressed by a huge influx of foreign aid!

The French government has recently committed R16.7 million to anti-crime efforts in South Africa in preparation for the World Cup. The money will be used to focus on intelligence-gathering (and sharing) regarding transnational crime and terrorism. Except, that's only 16.7 million South African Rand, which amounts to $1.65 million (€1.26 million) so it's not exactly big-time money. Heck, you could spend all of that just on a good AFIS or IBIS system, not to mention all of the money it takes to train officers in their use.

But apparently that doesn't matter, as tourism experts believe that widespread criminal activity is just a myth, albeit one that may unfortunately ruin the World Cup atmosphere.

"People will really be amazed when they come here next year to see the true picture of South Africa. A lot of international tourists are afraid to come here because of the high crime rate and because of security issues, but I think what we see on the news is over-exaggerated. It's a different picture once you get here."

Umm, yes, it's all a big exaggeration. While it's true that the murder rate has stabilized, and that South Africa has better statistics than many other African nations, (caution! opens a PDF) that doesn't by any means indicate that it is safe. Car-jacking, for example (see sign above), is extremely widespread and Capetown and J-Burg make Newark in the 90s seem quaint. Robbery is also popular, and in July 2008, the Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) raised the security classification of the capital's restaurants to "caution areas". Even worse, the country as a whole is known as the "rape capital of the world" due to the high incidence of the crime.

But, hey, it's all just an exaggeration, right? I mean, South Africa is perfectly safe and ready for 450,000 people. Besides, how could it not be safe? Everyone speaks like this, don't they:



7 comments:

Sarah said...

My sister's best friend went to SA on a university trip a couple of years ago and was nearly stabbed to death by some random crazy guy. She was walking with a group of students in broad daylight and he just tackled her out of nowhere. So yeah, I'm a little wary of the country.

Still want to go to the World Cup though.

The NY Kid said...

World Cup 2006: Random strangers hug you and give you free beer.

World Cup 2010: Random strangers stab you and give you free AIDS.

The Fan's Attic said...

I can just see the Mastercard priceless commercial now.

Ă¼75 said...

So so so not contemplating going.

jape said...

My best friend lived in JoBurg for years. I went down for his wedding and the car we rented did not last one night on the street without being smashed into a stripped of radio and rented tuxes. He finally convinced his S. African wife to move to the states after her car was car-jacked right in front of their house. Only a last second snatch prevented their infant child from being car-jacked as well. Not cool.

The Fan's Attic said...

hmmm...maybe i can wait until the 2014 World Cup to visit my second World Cup. Or, maybe when they finally realize SA 2010 is epic fail, we will get the WC and I can take a month off following the tournament.

jjf3 said...

I'm holding out hope to take my entire 2010 vacation in one WC-encompassing period, and spend every last bit of savings on seeing as many games in the US as possible...a guy can dream...