Safety drive for Oz fans
SYDNEY: Australia has launched an unprecedented safety campaign for its citizens visiting South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, warning of a “high level of violent crime”.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said the World Cup would be Australia’s largest-ever consular exercise, with mobile embassies to be set up at all Socceroos games and updates via social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.
“We are expecting more than 10 000 Australians to visit South Africa during the tournament, with more than 43 000 tickets sold to Australians,” Smith said on Friday.
A special foreign affairs travel bulletin for the World Cup urged Australians to exercise a high level of caution in South Africa.
“Muggings, rape, armed robbery and other forms of theft are common,” it warned.
“Murders and carjackings involving foreign tourists have also been reported. Travellers have been robbed and assaulted after having their food or drinks spiked.”
Smith urged Australians to register their travel plans with the department, subscribe to free e-mail updates on security and take out comprehensive travel insurance.
Mobile embassies will be established at all Australia games and a 24hour hotline was in operation, with updates also available at AUSConsular2010 on Twitter or the Australia High Commission South Africa Facebook site.
South Africa has hired tens of thousands of extra police for the tournament in a bid to counter its reputation as one of the world’s most crimeridden countries. – Sapa-AFP