Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The Dutch travel company ANWB will not stop tours to SA, despite a group of Dutch tourists being held up at the weekend. ANWB spokesperson Ad Vonk said on Tuesday that a new group of Dutch tourists had arrived in SA on Monday night.

Thirty-six Dutch tourists were robbed on Sunday night at about 11pm while on their way from OR Tambo International Airport to their hotel in Fourways‚ Johannesburg. Their bus was allegedly stopped by a marked police vehicle with one man dressed in a police uniform and the other five wearing civilian clothing.

The hands and feet of the bus driver and the tour leader were tied up with cable ties. Five men boarded the bus and stole whatever they could.

"When some were not fast enough‚ they were hit‚" Vonk said. "A lot of the people don’t have anything. Telephones‚ bags‚ luggage‚ a lot of things are gone."

One of the passengers told the Dutch newspaper Telegraaf: "We are safe now, but we are in shock and want to go back. We just landed for a 22-day trip‚ but the fun has gone."

The newspaper has described the tourists’ "hell" at the hands of the robbers‚ who forced the bus to a stop before making their way into the vehicle and assaulting some of the tourists. "People panicked and even got firearms aimed at them. In two cases‚ the trigger was pulled but the gun didn’t fire."

According to the passenger‚ several of the tourists were punched. "The suitcases were also taken out of the cargo area. They were busy for 20 minutes. People cried and are in shock. They took the keys from the bus and disappeared."

After the robbers left‚ passengers freed themselves. The driver had a spare key in the cargo area‚ which he retrieved and drove the tourists to their hotel. Some of the passengers were treated for light injuries.

Three passengers had their passports stolen, but were quickly issued new ones before flying back to the Netherlands on Tuesday afternoon‚ just three days after they arrived.

Vonk said a few Dutch tourists have been victims of crime in SA before‚ but "nothing on this scale". He said, however, they are not reconsidering their tours to SA because it is "beautiful" country that is popular with Dutch tourists.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said on Twitter: "With such high unemployment‚ tourism has to be a priority to attract money into country. I wonder if our president is aware of implications."

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said in a statement earlier on Tuesday that he "condemns the robbery on foreign tourists and views it as an attack to the tourism industry and the economy".

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