German's murder only the third tourist death in SA in 27 years, country is safe - Sisulu

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Minister Lindiwe Sisulu held a press briefing on Wednesday night.
Minister Lindiwe Sisulu held a press briefing on Wednesday night.
Cebelihle Bhengu
  • Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu has assured tourists South Africa is safe and three tourists had died in the country in 27 years.
  • Sisulu said the murder of a German tourist was not a true representation of the safety of the country.
  • She added the tourism department and police would tighten security measures around the "problematic" Numbi area.

Tourism Minister Lindiwe Sisulu worked hard on Wednesday to reassure tourists South Africa was a safe destination, indicating that three tourists had lost their lives in 27 years.

This follows the murder of a German tourist near Kruger National Park in Numbi on Monday. The 67-year-old man was gunned down after three armed men ambushed him and three others, including his wife. 

Sisulu said:

We have only had a record of three [tourist] deaths in our country and the only murder we've had that can be pinned down to the insecurity that might arise around tourists is the one we're talking about now.

She added evidence in the murder case of the late Anni Hindocha, who died while on honeymoon in Cape Town in 2010, pointed to a planned hit. The third death was an accident in Cape Town.

"That is a record of safety and that is a record we'd like to keep. We assure them that South Africa is safe … for tourists, we provide maximum security."

Sisulu did not mention how many tourists had been robbed in the same period. She was briefing the media on Wednesday evening after meeting the murdered tourist's wife and tourism stakeholders.

German Ambassador Andreas Peschke, his advisor, Jurgen Kogl, and acting director-general Mmaditonki Setwaba joined the Sisulu at the briefing.

While police indicated in a statement on Wednesday evening three people had been taken in for questioning in connection with the murder, Sisulu said they were arrested.

WATCH | Killed on holiday in SA: Wife held murdered German tourist in his final moments

"Yes, I can confirm, three were arrested. When there is enough evidence for the police to believe that you are guilty of a particular crime, they don't stop questioning you because they have to put a solid case before they take you to court.

"From them, we will find out what the plan was and why they targeted these particular tourists," she said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said three "people of interest" had been identified.

Sisulu added Cele informed her Numbi "had concerning crime levels".

"What we will do now is either secure that place or find an alternative route to the Kruger Park, one that is safe because when we invite them, we assure them of safety," she said.

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