Tourist robbery on Chapman's Peak uncovers emergency access issue

2014-04-01 12:39

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A day trip along one of the most famous drives in South Africa, Chapman’s Peak, went horribly wrong for an Iranian family on holiday in Cape Town.

IOL reports the Raissi family are shaken-up and sad after first being robbed of R20 000 cash and then secondly being made to wait for police assistance.

The report states the incident took place on Sunday when tour guide Alahuddiyn Ahmed parked their car at the main lookout point on Chapman's Peak to allow the Raissi family to take some pictures.

When the family returned 10 minutes later, all their bags were gone – including one belonging to Zahra Raissi with R20 000 cash in it.

The report states Ahmed locked the car. There was however no sign of forced entry.

The ordeal for the holidaymakers was made worse as no police assistance came, despite Ahmed repeatedly phoning 10111 and the Hout Bay Police station.

Three hours after the incident took place, Ahmed made his way to the toll plaza to find out why no police had arrive.

After News24 Travel contacted the necessary authorities involved, conflicting reports as to why have emerged.

Hout Bay Police Commissioner Bongani Mtakati says Chapman’s Peak access is an on going issue for police.

“The police were there but they were denied entry. I even called the toll gate staff on Sunday to arrange entry, but they were refused simply because they did not have the required book and stamp, ” Mtakati said.

“This happened even though they were in a police vehicle and police uniform. The same thing happened to me last week Wednesday. I was on my way to an official police meeting in Muizenberg but was denied entry as I did not have the required date stamp.”

Responding to allegations that Ahmed was told Hout Bay Police only had one vehicle to attend to emergency call outs Mtakati said, “That is incorrect and irrelevant. Because the police were turned away, the comment was misunderstood. The police do not have vehicles to go up and down unnecessarily.”

Head of ministry for the Department of Transport and Public Works Sanele Nyoka has denied claims that the police were not allowed to access to the road.

“We’ve been approached by emergency services to arrange that they be exempted from toll fees. It would be stupid for us to exclude the police,” said Nyoka.

A statement submitted to Nyoka by Mark Jacobs, general manager of Entilini Operations for the Chapman’s Peak toll, claims police were given a day pass to enter Chapman’s Peak but they turned back for reasons unclear to the toll staff on duty.

“When the tour guide came to the toll gate to find out why the police had not arrived he was told police were there but they had left. I have since asked for CCTV footage to be examined to show the police were given entry.”

According to Jacobs, police are allowed free access to Chapman’s Peak provided they have a pre-printed voucher, with the voucher not being required in serious emergencies.

Nyoka confirmed that staff who had been on duty on Sunday are due to report directly to Jacobs on Tuesday afternoon and a more detailed statement would be made available then.
In light of Sunday’s incident, Community Safety MEC Dan Plato is also said to be querying the existing protocols with Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Arno Lamoer on Tuesday.

As the investigation into both the theft and the emergency services access issue continues, the Raissi family and Cape Town's reputation as a tourist destination are the ones that seem to be the worst off.

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Read more on:    cape town  |  chapman's peak  |  travel south africa

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