Posted on December 1, 2005

Gunmen Hit German Tour Bus (SA), Dec. 1

Johannesburg — A group of 40 German travel agents were robbed at gunpoint in their bus in Cape Town’s Khayelitsha township on Wednesday night, SA Tourism said on Thursday.

Two armed men stormed into the group’s stationary tour bus and demanded that passengers hand over their valuables and money, SA Tourism spokesperson Shirley Motea said.

The travel agents, who are on a week-long educational visit to South Africa, were in the country as guests of SA Tourism, she said in a statement.

“The visitors had boarded the bus that was to move them from their afternoon activities to dinner in Khayelitsha when at least two armed men allegedly entered the bus and demanded . . . valuables and money. No one was injured,” said Motea.

She said the group, which had been in Khayelitsha when the attack took place, formed part of 300 German travel agent currently visiting South Africa to “learn more” about the country “in order to sell it more effectively to German travellers”.

“All 300 delegates had been in Khayalitsha that afternoon but only one bus was attacked,” Motea said, adding the group’s attackers fled.

“When the entire group arrived back at its hotel last night, a representative of the tour operator informed delegates of what had taken place and told them, too, that it was the company’s decision that the educational trip of South Africa would continue.

“However, delegates were given the opportunity to return to Germany should they wish to do so.

“Two of the delegates elected to return home. Transport arrangements have been made for them. Later last night, however, delegates who had chosen to continue with the educational tour had resumed their planned itinerary,” Motea said.

SA Tourism chief executive Moeketsi Mosola said he was “dismayed and deeply concerned” over the group’s robbery.

“This is an appalling incident and our deepest concern goes to those affected,” he said.

“The delegation is in South Africa to learn more of our destination in order to sell it more effectively to German travellers, to grow arrivals from Germany, grow the contribution tourism makes to the economy and so create more jobs in this industry.

“An incident such as this has significantly negative consequences for everyone,” Mosola said.