Following the crime statistics released by the South African Police Service on Tuesday, the US state department yesterday upgraded its threat level for US citizens to South Africa to level two and urged citizens to “exercise increased caution”.
“Violent crime, such as armed robbery, rape, car-jacking, mugging, and smash-and-grab attacks on vehicles, is common. There is a higher risk of violent crime in the central business districts of major cities after dark,” the advisory stated.
“Demonstrations, protests, and strikes occur frequently. These can develop quickly without prior notification, often interrupting traffic, transportation, and other services; such events have the potential to turn violent.”
It also warns about the drought in “Western, Eastern, and Northern Cape Provinces” and of Cape Town’s water restrictions.
“If one looks at the advisory, it relates to the issue of crime, it relates to violent protests, and in that context and if one looks at the statistics released by the police, one can understand such an alert had to be issued,” terrorism expert Janine Opperman said. “They have a responsibility towards their citizens.
“The moment they receive any intelligence which could constitute a threat, under law they have to warn their citizens.”
In February, and again in March, the United Kingdom issued a travel advisory warning of not only listeriosis, but “likely” terrorist attacks.
“Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners, such as shopping areas in major cities,” that advisory warned. “The main threat is from extremists linked to Daesh (formerly referred to as ISIL).”
The warning remains, but with a note about the bomb threats at shopping malls in KwaZulu-Natal added.