Wednesday, June 18, 2008

United Nations Staff Warning: Avoid night flights to South Africa

How bad is this? As it says in the article, we have been given the same status as countries at war such as the Sudan.

Some areas have even been declared Phase 2 which means ‘no go’ for UN staff! Does the ANC gubbermunt care? Of course not. It’s lost control of the situation and to admit bad governance on their part – per Mbeki’s logic – is to admit that “Africans can’t govern”. The irony is lost on Mbeki and co. that the fact that errors won’t be corrected PROVES Africans can’t govern.There is no shame in correcting mistakes. There is more credit given when errors are admitted and rectified but when you lack the wherewithal to grasp the concept, why even bother explaining it to them?

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UN staff in South Africa have been warned to avoid flights landing at O R Tambo International Airport here at night and not to use their mobile phones on South African streets.

The Beeld newspaper daily said this formed part of the latest UN travel alert to its staff. Beeld said that unidentified South African employees at UN offices in the country were "ashamed" that their country had now been given the same status as conflict-ridden countries such as Sudan by the UN advisory.

UN warnings range from Phase 0, where there is no threat to UN staff at all; to Phase 5, where UN workers have to be evacuated from a country. Phase 1, where workers are warned to exercise caution, is now applicable to all areas in South Africa, while areas in Gauteng and Western Cape provinces which were hit by xenophobic violence last month have been declared Phase 2 areas, which means UN staff may not enter such areas.

Beeld quoted the following extracts from the UN advisory. "There are xenophobic attacks on foreigners in informal settlements. All staff should therefore stay away from these (listed) areas and coordinate work-related trips with UN offices in South Africa.

Security briefings at all these offices are compulsory for everyone. "Visitors are more defenceless against this threat because their awareness and preparations fall short.

"Recent incidents show that Gauteng (which includes Johannesburg and Pretoria) are the worst affected (by this threat) and are experiencing a marked increase in armed robbery.

"In most cases, victims are robbed in their driveways or at hotel entrances when they drive away from the airport.

Beeld said that UN staff travelling to South Africa had been told: "Make travel arrangements in advance and avoid arriving at Johannesburg's airport at night.

Do not exchange foreign currency at the airport and avoid as far as possible to give out any personal details.

"Whenever UN employees travel in a car or taxi, all possessions should be placed out of sight in the boot or on the floor (of the vehicle)." There have been claims for some time now that organised crime takes advantage of unsuspecting foreign travellers arriving here by following them and robbing them of their belongings, but police have rejected this suggestion, calling the incidents "opportunistic crime".

Locals also felt that the UN warning might be too harsh, admitting that though crime does occur in the cities, it was not as bad as was being made out in the UN advisory.

Crime is a concern for foreign investors as well, with Indian businesses wanting to invest in South Africa citing it as one of the major concerns in a recent survey by Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

1 Opinion(s):

Anonymous said...

Why can a country totally incapeable and unwilling of organising an acceptable level of security within its own borders have a seat at the very same UN security councel? This says even more about the UN than about South Africa.