Botswana issues advisory for travel to SA in face of xenophobic unrest

A message for ?
? at the protest at Parliament. (Jan Gerber, News24)
A message for ? @CyrilRamaphosa ? at the protest at Parliament. (Jan Gerber, News24)

The recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa has seen Botswana issue a travel advisory for its citizens considering travel to its southern neighbour. 

The Ministry of International Affairs and Cooperation is advising all Batswana traveling to South Africa to "exercise extreme caution in light of recent developments resulting in violent unrests". The Ministry further cautioned Batswana residing in South Africa to also "avoid areas where unrests are currently occurring and encourages them to remain vigilant at all times".  

South Africa has experienced a wave of protests, in which communities have looted both foreign and South African owned shops while calling for an end to the presence of drug syndicates, reports News24. There have also been reports of counter attacks on South African owned businesses in other African countries in response to the violence. 

Areas in Gauten have been hardest hit with sporadic violence occurring across all three of its big metros, according to News24. The head of strategic communications and member of the World Economic Forum (WEF) executive committee, Olivier Cann also confirmed that Malawi and Rwanda would not be attending the forum. This followed claims that several African heads of state would not attend in protest to the current looting and xenophobia-related violence in Gauteng.

On Wednesday the Cape Town International Convention Centre, currently hosting the WEF Africa forum was the central point to a massive march, mostly by school children in response to the escalating violence against women in the country. The protest was largely peaceful, however police used water cannons and stun grenades to disperse the gathering - as they had planned to block the highway until President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed them. 

READ: SA Hiking Safety Alert: Tourists must avoid hiking alone after fatal attack in Table Mountain National Park  

Tourism Update reports South African Tourism has issued a statement saying it is concerned about the added damage the violent protests are having on the destination as a whole, cautioning that it is taking the "matter very seriously". 

The focus to ensure tourists feel safe when visiting South Africa has been a point of concern, now more than ever before - with SA Tourism, The Department of Tourism and other key stakeholders working together on a safety strategy to ensure a positive visitor experience and increase tourism safety.  

“We are working with the South African Police Services to fine tune our safety strategy and programmes in a bid to curb and address the safety of visitors at all our tourist attractions. We are looking at utilising technologies such as cameras and drones, in addition to the deployment of safety monitors at key tourism attractions,” Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has previously stated. 

Prevention is key - with tourism safety monitors being "deployed at all major attractions and so-called hot spots".

"This will not only make areas more secure, but in turn it will create jobs, teach young people skills to be used in the tourism and hospitality industry in an effort to, ultimately, alleviate poverty."

* Compiled by Selene Brophy

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