Minister of international relations Lindiwe Sisulu will meet with her Australian counterpart, Julie Bishop over a travel warning issued by the country to its visitors to South Africa. The two are due to meet in London where they are both attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
According to Eyewitness News (EWN), Sisulu is said to be angry about the travel warning, which she says was issued to tarnish South Africa's image.
This week, the Australian department of foreign affairs issued a travel advisory warning visitors to SA to exercise a high level of caution. According to TimesLive, the advisory warned: "Crime‚ including violent crime‚ is a serious issue in South Africa. Most types of crime are increasing. Be alert. Don't expect the same level of service from South African police as you would in Australia."
Dangers to travellers allegedly include: "Murder‚ rape‚ car hijackings‚ civil unrest‚ water shortages‚ spiked drinks‚ drunk drivers and terrorism."
In February, the UK also issued a travel advisory, warning visitors of the possibility of terrorist attacks in South Africa, eNCA reported.
According to the Australian news website, news.com.au, the advisory has been out since January but it only came to light in the media this week.
The South African government is reportedly outraged. In a statement, the government "strongly objects" to the travel advisory, which it says contains "misleading information about South Africa in general and‚ in particular‚ about the experiences of foreign tourists visiting South Africa. The travel advisory has the potential not only to deter Australians from visiting South Africa‚ but also to tarnish our country's image."
The South African government reportedly tried repeatedly to have the advisory amended, but Australia has reportedly ignored these requests.
"The decision to escalate the matter follows these unsuccessful attempts and indicates the seriousness with which the South African government values the contribution of the tourism sector to the economy," the statement reportedly reads.