UK football journo scared to go to WC2010

 

louisetaylor South Africa is too dangerous for WC2010, writes UK’s Guardian newspaper football journalist Louise Taylor, right, on Tuesday 7 July 2009 17.03 BST guardian.co.uk

Why going to South Africa for the World Cup terrifies me”

“Statistics, anecdotes and research suggest that touring the Rainbow nation as a fan next summer could be a dangerous option. In fact, the 2010 World Cup should have gone to Egypt,’ writes The Guardian newspaper’s football journalist Louise Taylor on 7 July 2009… click for adding your own Comments (488 thus far…)

  • "Awe-inspiring landscapes, cosmopolitan cities, beautiful vineyards and amazing wildlife – the Rainbow nation offers something for everyone, where the people and culture are as diverse as the landscape. Africa’s southernmost country has long been the inspiration of travellers the world over … " So says the blurb introducing South Africa in a typical holiday brochure. Few readers could fail to be enticed – well, at least until they spotted the prices – but most will also ask themselves the questions: What about the crime? Is it safe? Happily, South Africa seems to do tourism, particularly high-end tourism, pretty well, and the answers in the overwhelming majority of cases are a resounding: It won’t affect you and Yes.

Fifty people murdered a day…

2010 will draw crime says Cape Town metrocop chief Picture: Recent Cape Argus front page with the dire warning by its new metropolitian police force chief, who says the WC2010 ‘will draw crime’ and tourists will be soft targets because they aren’t street-wise such as the South Africans have become…. read story: WC2010 tourism attracts crime

She continues: “I’ve never been but would love to take a typical Cape Town/Garden Route-type holiday. What I would definitely balk at, though, is touring as a fan at next year’s World Cup – an event, with the final 12 months away, we are counting down to. Indeed, having done a bit of research on the subject, I know I’d be absolutely terrified.

‘Such fears are often as much about perception as statistics, but unfortunately the stats – not to mention much anecdotal evidence – confirm that football fans like me are right to be more than a little scared. After all, this is a country in which approximately 50 people are murdered every day.

Official Foreign Office Travel Advice:

‘Let’s start where the UK government would like us to, with the official Foreign Office travel advice. As a fairly regular visitor to the Middle East, I know this can sometimes seem unnecessarily alarmist but, even so, the South African advisory is still capable of making the most well-travelled England fan think twice.

Here are some selected excerpts.

  • "South Africa has a very high level of crime including rape and murder." "In all areas of South Africa you should be cautious when out after dark." "There have been a number of incidents involving foreigners being followed from Johannesburg airport to their destinations by car and then robbed, often at gunpoint." "The standard of driving is variable and there are many fatal accidents." Meanwhile, "vigilance" is demanded "at all times" in Durban.

“So far so cheery. Then there was the recent news that G4S, the world’s biggest security firm, has declined to work at next summer’s World Cup. Nick Buckles, the organisation’s chief executive, took that decision after revealing that G4S rated South Africa more dangerous than Iraq and Afghanistan.

countrieswithhighestmurderrates 27000 gunshots treated each year in state hospitals Map: click here for countries with highest murder rates

“Of course, much violence occurs in the townships but, looking in from the outside, a major problem appears to be the lack of public transport. Where are the wonderful train services that helped Germany 2006 run so smoothly? ‘After reporting on last month’s Confederations Cup, the journalist Gabriele Marcotti wrote: "Public transport is generally poor and, besides, most foreign tourists are told not to take buses and trains." Quite apart from recounting a late-night incident with a shadowy, gun-toting man – probably involved in security rather than crime – while driving in Johannesburg, Marcotti wrote of some long, unpleasant drives in the dark after covering matches.  Commenting on the lack of dual carriageways and lit highways in certain areas, he described negotiating one road heading towards Jo’burg as "like snorkelling in a sewer filled with squid ink". ‘Shortly afterwards came the sad news that a German journalist had been killed in a car accident while driving to a Confederations Cup match’.

‘Talking of the Confederations Cup, remember that players from both the Egyptian and Brazilian teams returned to their hotel rooms after victories over, coincidentally, Italy to find they had been robbed. No matter, though; in March Danny Jordaan, the chief executive of the 2010 World Cup, issued a "100% guarantee" that there would not be "a single" security breach or attack on any team or official attending Africa’s first such showpiece. "We’ll have 41,000 extra police and 86,000 added [security] personnel," he said. “Those guests who attended a FIFA draw in Durban in November 2007 may take some convincing. They were shocked when Peter Burgstaller, an Austrian ex-professional footballer, was shot dead while on his hotel golf course. ‘Meanwhile, another hotel guest was mugged en route to breakfast and journalists covering the event were advised to venture out only in groups…. read the entire article on: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2009/jul/07/louise-taylor-south-africa-2010-world-cup

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She’s right about everything, including the public transport – here’s just a few examples:

20090710  Mom Helen Smith roughed up at Durban train station by guard

Agiza Hlongwane of the Sunday Times of Johannesburg reports on July 12 2009 that young Johannesburg mom Helen Smith was roughed up by a security guard at the Durban train station. She was travelling on the much-vaunted Shosholoza Meyl  luxury train with her five-month-old baby. She fears what will happen to WC 2010 FIFA football tourists who will have to deal with such abusive and rough security guards at train stations, she told South Africa’s largest newspaper. 


Helen Smith's wrist show cuts and bruises from being handcuffed with extreme force by a security guard at Durban train station when she was travelling from JHB to Toti withher mother and kids scene here after the incident with her 5 month old son Daniel Walker-Smith .
Picture: JACKIE CLAUSEN 10/7/2009 

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25cm wide

fc MANHANDLED: Traumatised, thirty-five-year-old mom Helen Smith’s wrist shows cuts and bruises from her alleged encounter with a ‘rough’ security guard at Durban train station. Picture: JACKIE CLAUSEN, Sunday Times.

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Mrs Helen Smith’s only  “crime”: failing to produce a R10 parcel ticket when she tried to board her next train… No-where are passengers advised that they must pay for their luggage, she noted.

The mother of three has laid a charge of assault against Metrorail and says she fears what will happen to 2010 Fifa World Cup foreign visitors who will have to deal with “abusive” and “rough” security guards at train stations.

Smith, 35, has also accused Metrorail of failing to erect signage informing passengers of the need to pay for their luggage. Smith arrived in Durban from Johannesburg on Friday, with her three children, her 72-year-old mother and their four pieces of luggage.  After travelling for 14 hours on Metrorail’s much-vaunted Shosholoza Meyl, Smith said, she incurred the wrath of a security guard upon their arrival in Durban when she pushed her luggage past an open gate next to the turnstiles, enroute to boarding the Doonside-bound train. She was stopped by security guards demanding to see her parcel ticket — a levy for onboard luggage, which cost R10 per bag. Smith said she had not been told about the extra costs before then. The guards then accused the white woman of ‘trespassing’.

I am going to hit you, said the guard…

“When I went through the gate, all I wanted to do was to get my kids and my mom onto the platform. I said to (the guard) I’d come and pay the ticket. Instead, he grabbed my bag and pulled hard — my hand was really burning … I told him to leave me alone and pushed him away. And he said, ‘I’m going to hit you.’ ” Smith demanded the guard’s name, but he refused to give it. Metrorail spokesman Thandi Mkhize confirmed that there had been an “incident”. http://www.thetimes.co.za/PrintEdition/Article.aspx?id=1032467

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20090703 Afrikaans woman assaulted on train while scores of men look on and do nothing to help…

Jul 3 2009 RANDFONTEIN, South Africa.

Nothnagel Tanya AttackedTrainRandfonteinJune302009 This is Mrs Tanya Nothnagel, a bank clerk who was assaulted and beaten up in full view of a wagon-load of male passengers – who did nothing to help the Afrikaans woman.

Beeld journalist Cobus Coetzee writes that 44-year-old Mrs Nothnagel was travelling on the metrorail train from Johannesburg to her home in Randfontein from work when a ‘middle-aged man wearing the uniform of a well-known supermarket group” assaulted her, beat her in the face and kicked her for no apparent reason other than that she wanted a place to sit down.

The train left just after 5pm from Park Station. She was assaulted about 45 minutes into the journey while travelling between the Horison- and Princess railway stations. “He and his girlfriend reeked of alcohol and were occupying the entire bench with just the two of them. When I asked them courteously to make room for me, he started yelling at me, beat me in the face, climbed on top of the bench and kicked me in the face.’  None of the other passengers did anything. They merely watched her get beaten up… “The train was jam-packed. There were men all over the place but nobody wanted to help me. Only after the attack did a man and woman help me.’ She climbed off at the Home Lake station outside Randfontein. Her attacker and his girlfriend remained on the train. A week after the attack, her cheeks and eyebanks still are swollen and blue. But she’s refusing to be intimidated and still takes the same train every day, she said. The security on the trains is a huge problem, she told Beeld. “There are no guards on the trains, just at the railway stations’. Police captain Appel Ernst confirms that she’s lodged a formal complaint, which is being investigated by the Roodepoort police station, he said. Metrorail spokesman Sibusiso Ngomane said they ‘can’t afford to place security guards in every train wagon’. http://jv.news24.com/Beeld/Suid-Afrika/0,,3-975_2535769,00.html

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Chris Joubert dropped to his knees and thanked God after escape from hijacker…  

  July 3 2009 http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20090703052016777C630332

By Thandi Skade , The Star. As he looked down the barrel of the gun, two thoughts occupied his mind: never again seeing his four-month-old daughter, and that the trigger would be pulled.

  • "Get out, get out!" the gun-wielding man shouted at Chris Joubert. Snapping out of his thoughts, Joubert obeyed. The man jumped into the car and an accomplice got into the passenger seat and they drove off.
    ‘I dropped to my knees and thanked God for saving my life’

On Wednesday afternoon, Joubert, a Boksburg Audi dealership employee, escaped a hijacking at a petrol station in Boksburg unharmed, but his client’s new silver Audi Q5 2.0T had gone. He had taken the SUV to a petrol station to be filled before it was to be collected by the owner later that day. "As I was opening the door, a man – on his haunches – approached me. Next thing I saw a gun in my face," Joubert told The Star on Thursday.

"All I kept thinking about was my wife, never seeing my daughter, who is exactly four months old today, and waiting for that shot to go off.  "I was so shocked by what had happened. I dropped to my knees and thanked God for saving my life."

Joubert said he had alerted vehicle tracing firm Tracker, which activated the tracking device that had been installed just that morning. Police units immediately picked up the signal. The vehicle was recovered on the N3 highway travelling north towards the London Road off-ramp in less than 15 minutes," said Tracker communications manager Gareth Crocker. Boksburg Constable Cathy Meyer confirmed that one man had been arrested on Wednesday and the vehicle recovered. The suspect – who had been released on bail two weeks ago after being caught in possession of a stolen vehicle in Booysens – is having his case dealt with at the Boksburg Magistrate’s Court. http://www.int.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20090703052016777C630332

countries-with-highest-murder-rates

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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