Private sector tourism is alarmed at the incident at Waterval Boven over the weekend where 11 climbers were robbed at gun point. As the head of the Eastern Highveld Priority Committee (a private sector/government initiative to assist the SAPS in prioritising tourism security) we will urgently take action to ensure that the situation in Waterval Boven be given the necessary attention to try and bring an end to incidents of this nature. The head of tourism security in the province, Lindiwe Mtombeni, will be visiting the Waterval Boven area during this week to investigate how to bring control back into the area.
The EHPC's next meeting will be held on 8 December in the Waterval Boven area and this will be very high on our agenda for that day.
The Priority committees were formed approximately two years ago in an effort to get a working relationship between the security forces, provincial government and private sector tourism. We as tourism recognise the enormous effort put in by the SAPS in getting control of crime but obviously a lot of work still needs to be done in the Waterval Boven area to bring the situation under control.
The EHPC is not directly responsible for Waterval Boven, but a problem anywhere in the province is a problem which tourism needs to attend to and urgent correspondence will be sent to the MEC for Tourism in relation to the problems being experienced in Waterval Boven.
We sympathise with the 11 climbers who experienced this bad incident and would like to assure them that we will do everything in our power to bring their stolen goods back to them and discussions will be held in securing that resort as well as working closely with the SAPS at Waterval Boven in bringing the number of incidents down. It has been proven that a good working relationship within the priority committees has done wonders in other areas and we believe that this can also happen at Waterval Boven.
As private sector representatives who are volunteers, we are doing whatever we can in adding value to the tourism industry in Mpumalanga.
Elandskrans Resort: Saturday 5 November
11 Climbers were held up by two men in there early 20s at 9pm on Saturday night while sitting around the braai in front of one of the chalets. One of the men was armed with a pistol. Money, cellphones, Rucsacks, a gps, pda and a laptop were stolen. Fortunately nobody was harmed.
It appears that security at Elandskrans has been getting steadily worse with things being stolen from cars and tents (See other posts in this forum). Unfortunately after having visited there over 30 times in the past 10 years we can no longer recommend staying there.
There has been a steady stream of armed muggings at the crags over the past couple of years but this marks a new level of brazenness.
If you are going to climb in Boven it is strongely recommended that you stay in town at Roc 'n Rope or one of the other b&bs. In particular if you are women climbing by yourselves, or even as a couple, find a group of other climbers to join for your own safety. We had the strong feeling both from our assailants and from our conversation with the police that there is also an increasing sexual aggressiveness present in the recent attacks. The police were very helpful but see, to be facing an uphill battle in a township of displaced and transitory people where there is 75% unemployment.
Don't let this put you off climbing at Boven but rather direct your support to Gustav of Roc 'n' Rope and other members of the community who put so much into climbing at the Resturant and making it the great place its is.