The High Commission of Zambia in Pretoria has advise Zambians travelling to South Africa to ensure that they book themselves in reputable hotels and other forms of accommodation to avoid falling victim to unscrupulous people.
In a statement issued by Nicky Shabolyo the Press Secretary at the Zambian mission in South Africa said there has been an increase in the number of Zambian victims of crimes in South Africa.
Mr Shabolyo said it is advisable that the travelling public, instead stay at renowned hotels around ORT International Airport.
“We have noted with concern the frequency in which Zambians are victims of crime especially to those arriving at Oliver Reginald Tambo (ORT) International Airport and staying overnight to transit to other countries. Most of those who have been attacked book themselves in lodges around Kempton Park. It is advisable that the travelling public, instead stay at renowned hotels around ORT International Airport.
He urged has the travelling public to avoid seeking services from exposed points of sale such as Bureaux de Change or ATMs at airports of bus stations as this tended to attract criminals.
The Press Secretary noted that Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) has provided bureaux de change in the arrivals halls which are more secure and travellers should obtain services from such points.
He said the advise comes in the wake of reports of several Zambians being waylaid and robbed of their belongings and valuables as soon as they arrived at airports or bus stations.
Mr Shabolyo explained that several reports have been received in the recent past with the latest being that of seven Zambian senior officials travelling from Angola who were trailed from the airport to their lodging facility in Kempton Park in Johannesburg, where they were held at gun point and ordered to surrender all that they were carrying.
He also said Zambians travelling by bus, especially those arriving through Kirk Street in Johannesburg’s central business district, should avoid carrying cash.
“The Mission would also like to repeat the call to those going to meet church leaders in various parts of South Africa, to ensure that they make adequate arrangements before they travel. It has been observed that several Zambians have continued getting stranded while in South Africa after running out of money and consequently going without food for days and spending nights in the open,” he said.
He explained that as a result of budgetary constraints, Foreign Missions are unable to provide funds for repatriation and the South African High Commission is no exception.
“We wish to advise and reiterate that citizens travelling and seeking faith healing and prayers from churches in South Africa must financially prepare to avoid being stranded and endangering their lives.
“Based on the overwhelming number of cases of stranded citizens, we wish, therefore, to advise that those who intend to travel should first contact their hosts in South Africa so that they could gather all the necessary information pertaining to their trip. It would be important for travellers to make prior arrangements for accommodation, transportation, food and to carry money to last them the entire duration of their stay in South Africa.”