SAPS Members help stranded tourists
Sadly the good news stories are not always told, and following the horrible news about the rape incident of an Israeli tourist, it is commendable and comforting to see that we have dedicated officers who really care about the safety of tourists.
Tourists from The Netherlands suffered a puncture between Dientjie and Graskop at around 6pm on Monday, 9th September 2019. SAPS members from Dientjie, Sgt Malele and Zwane, stopped to help them, only to find that the tourists had not been provided with the crucial security key to unlock the wheel nut so the wheel could not be removed. They called Graskop SAPS (Sgt Mashigo) to see whether they could help with suitable equipment but there was no way to remove the wheel.
The client then called the car hire firm, using Sgt Malele’s phone, and they agreed to send a replacement vehicle from KMIA. Sgt Malele was worried about how long this could potentially take and it was getting dark already. He reached out to a person in private sector tourism, whom he dealt with before, to give him advice on how to proceed. The person spoke to the tourists, who assured him that they were relaxed and feeling very well looked-after. The car hire company was contacted again to obtain details of the driver and they monitored his progress, with Sgt Mashigo passing on messages to the clients.
Until the replacement vehicle arrived at around 8h15 pm, Sgt Mashigo stayed on the roadside with the tourists, to ensure their safety. This is exemplary and commendable action by members of the SAPS, and on behalf of the tourism industry, we would like to thank them and commend them for their assistance.
During the next few weeks, all the Local Tourism Organisations in each town of the Lowveld, will make contact with their local SAPS commissioners to share contact details of private sector liaison volunteers. The purpose of this initiative is for SAPS to call upon a private sector person in their own area, as soon as there is a tourist in distress. These volunteers will meet the tourists and take them to a place of safety and work with the officials from Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, to take care of all their immediate needs until they can be on their way again.
Published in Lowvelder, 13 September 2019: