Robbed tourists eager to leave SA

Port Elizabeth - The owner of the guesthouse in Addo where two German tourists were robbed over the weekend says they can't wait to leave the country - and she is going to close down her business.

"The policing in the area is too weak. I can't guarantee the safety of my guests anymore," said the owner of Halstead Farm B&B, who wants to remain anonymous.

"There has been a wave of burglaries at guesthouses in the area. We are despondent."

In the latest incident, Antreas Schligel, 45, and Cornelia Scatter (in her 40s) woke up in their cottage at about 23:30 on Saturday night after hearing strange noises.

Knives

Shortly afterwards they saw two men forcing the door open. They told the couple they were waiters.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the men, who were in their twenties, then threatened the couple with knives.

"My guests' hands were tied with electric cables and strips torn from the curtains," said the guesthouse owner. The men searched the room and fled with the couple's personal belongings, bank cards, euros, passports, a Canon camera, a Fortes watch and jewellery worth R85 000.

The incident came after the rape of a German teenager in July by two men, armed with knives, in the chalet she and her cousin were sharing at Lenmore guesthouse in Addo.

After three days of intensive detective work, police arrested two cousins at their homes in Addo and Paterson in connection with the rape. They appeared in court but the case did not proceed due to insufficient evidence.

"The criminals are no longer scared. We report incidents to police. They react quickly but then afterwards, we hear nothing," said the owner of Halstead.

"If the rape of a German teenager does not wake people up, nothing will."

The fact that two other suspects were arrested in September regarding this matter, did not bring much relief.

Tourism


Halstead's owner believes the increase in crime in the Addo district will severely damage tourism and all those trying to make a living from it. "I no longer feel safe sleeping here alone," said the woman, who was on her own at the guesthouse when the incident happened.

Her property is secured by a fence with barbed wire and a security gate with remote control. Her two guard dogs didn't bark and she doesn't know how the attackers gained access to the property.

Meanwhile, the German couple are applying for new documents. "They want to leave the country as soon as possible. They said they will never come back to SA and will tell all their friends not to come to the country either."

According to the guesthouse owner, it was the second time the German couple had visited the country and they had arrived at the guesthouse the afternoon before the incident.

She said the tourists had been surprised about how positive people's attitudes in South Africa had become, but now they had changed their minds.

"Ironically, the robbers only left the souvenirs that were made in South Africa and which they had bought to take back to friends and family in Germany."

- Were you there? Send us your eyewitness accounts
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