[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Languages
Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Row over SA website crime warning

South African officials have condemned a website urging would-be tourists and 2010 World Cup fans to stay away from the country because of the crime risk.

The International Marketing Council said the site highlighted negative news and ignored successes in the fight against crime.

The police ministry would not comment on a campaign launched by "one person".

South African preparations for the 2010 football World Cup are starting as the tournament draws to a close in Germany.

The Crime Expo SA website urges crime victims to tell their stories and send their photographs, which will be published unedited.

That person is challenging South Africa and all of South Africa - there is no need for us to comment
Trevor Bloem
Safety and security ministry spokesman

Cape Town insurance broker Neil Watson says on his site:

"Insulting politicians is not going to do the trick. Protesting outside in the streets is not going to do the trick. Voting for a fancier politician is not going to do the trick. Telling the international tourist what is happening between the airport and hotel is going to do the trick."

'Slaughtered'

The site says that "each year, about 20,000 people get slaughtered in the most gruesome manner by killers who have absolutely no respect for life".

The site reports incidents of stones being thrown at cars on the highway between Cape Town airport and the city.

"We call on international tourists not to arrive at Cape Town International Airport as routes from there are a death trap. Like others, you might have your skull crushed with your brains splashed all over your vehicle within minutes after leaving the airport," the site says.

Pages on the site deal with murder, rape, farm attacks and armed robbery.

A comment purporting to be an SMS from a reader in Sweden says: "South Africa was on our shortlist for our tour... we have heard about the crime situation but the Crime Expo website has made us think twice".

Criticism

The IMC, the body that promotes South Africa abroad, said in a statement it was "painfully aware" of the effects of crime and believed vigilance was essential.

"However, we are concerned about the appropriateness of any information campaign that focuses only on the negatives and ignores the growing range of successes in the fight against crime," the statement said.

"Any campaign that instils fear and undermines the economic opportunities created by increased international tourism and investment can only add to the very problem Mr Watson seeks to address."

Cape Town Tourism general manager Mariette du Toit told the Cape Times newspaper the website skewed the truth and was "very damaging".

Safety and security ministry spokesman Trevor Bloem said the ministry did not want to get involved in a battle with the individual who had set up the website.

"That person is challenging South Africa and all of South Africa - there is no need for us to comment," Mr Bloem told BBC News.

South Africa has one of the world's highest rates of violent crime.


VOTE RESULTS
Will South Africa be ready to stage the 2010 World Cup?
Yes
 49.28% 
No
 50.72% 
12139 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific