Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula has confirmed that the 36 Dutch tourists who were robbed by bogus police officers would be leaving South Africa yesterday.
The tourists, who cut short their 22-day visit, were on their way to the airport on Tuesday after the incident took place on Sunday. The group, along with their tour guide and bus driver, were robbed shortly after arriving in the country, while en route to their accommodation. They were stopped by a police car and a man who was dressed in police uniform. Five others were dressed in civilian clothing.
They were robbed of their luggage and all their belongings. The value of the items is not known.
Some of the tourists also suffered injuries during the ordeal and had to receive medical attention when they eventually arrived at the Zulu Nyala Country Manor in Fourways.
Mbalula visited the group at the lodge on Tuesday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, journalists were barred from entering the property. One of the managers of the lodge chased two reporters away.
“It was a dramatic experience and as much as they wanted to stay longer, what they came across on Sunday was almost like a hostage situation by criminals who undermined the authority of the state,” Mbalula said.
‘Criminals will be caught’
Mbalula said the tourists were coming to the country to enjoy SA and to spend money, but instead they were targeted by criminals.
He said some of them said they would come back to the country in a year.
“Our biggest concern is, if people had to die on that bus, it would have been worse than it is now. In God’s prayers, nobody died.”
Mbalula said the criminals will be caught and brought to book. He had also urged South Africans not to buy the stolen goods.
Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Marisa Gerards said the group was made up of tourists of varying ages, contrary to an earlier report that said most were over the age of 70.
“Most of these people booked an organised trip, but those who were so concerned about their safety were robbed on Sunday night,” Gerards said.
Gerards said what happened on Sunday night was out of the ordinary, saying they had never experienced something like this before.
“I’m really shocked by it, but I am confident that we will find the people who did this.”