The highlight of South Africa is undoubtedly Cape Town with its beautiful landscape, rich resources, and bustling tourism industry.
It’s no wonder millions of travelers flock to this coastal town every year.
Capturing a glimpse of a great white shark at Cape Point or hiking the famous trail to Table Mountain is a jaw-dropping experience – but it’s not worth your life.
According to Statista, 16 million tourists visited South Africa in 2017 and numbers were projected to rise to 19.5 million by 2022.
This of course was before murder and violence became rampant in Cape Town with gangs looking to make a name for themselves.
While much of the violence has managed to stay away from the typical tourist areas, the over-crowded apartment complexes and low-income housing near Cape Town International Airport is ridden with conflict.
Elsies River Community Policing Forum Chair, Imraahn Mukaddam, tells Fox News:
“Going to a shop is life-threatening, traveling in a taxi is life-threatening. We are living in a war zone. A lot of violence here is orchestrated by a third force – the street gangs, who want to make the Western Cape almost ungovernable.”
There have been a shocking 1,600 murders in the Cape Town area this year alone – 900 of them associated with gang activity. And the year is only half over!
In just one weekend, 55 unnatural deaths occurred that included six young women shot execution style and five other young men shot dead.
The gang problem is spiraling out of control.
Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security told Fox News that, “Prison gangs run street gangs from prison cells.”
Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice rated Cape Town as the 15th most dangerous city in the world, following St. Louis and several Latin American cities.
This does not sound like a place you’d want to spend your vacation!
How could you relax in that sort of environment?
Meanwhile, local media speculates that if the current trends in crime continue, Cape Town will become the most dangerous place in the world by the end of the year.
The city is trying to prevent such a fate, but even local law enforcement officers are leery of combating gang members in areas of high crime.
Mukaddam told Fox News that one police sergeant tried to stand up to a group of gangsters and was “taken out.”
Provincial officers, along with Mukaddam, believe that deploying the South African Army to escort emergency personnel into parts of town that are too dangerous to enter is the only way people are going to get the help they need.
South African Minister of the Police, Bheki Cele, also agrees and plans to send troops into these hazardous areas at an undisclosed time and place.
One thing is for sure – bodies are pouring into the mortuaries at an alarming rate.
Overflow at the existing morgues has caused bodies to be stored in refrigerated shipping containers until the new three-story mortuary is finished, as Professor Lorna Martin, head of forensic pathology in the Western Cape, told Fox News.
Professor Martin says she has a bleak outlook on the troubles Cape Town is facing, telling reporters:
“With the increase that we’ve now had lately, I don’t think we’ll cope.”
Nicknamed the ‘Mother City’ for being the oldest city in South Africa, Cape Town offers a rich history that many would benefit to see.
It’s always been a vital port, exporting high-end goods such as gold and diamonds all over the world.
It’s a shame that such a beautiful area is experiencing such a horrible crisis.
We can all hope that the military’s involvement will successfully decrease the gang activity and violence occurring in Cape Town .
In the meantime, if you’re looking for a destination that gives you beaches, culture, and phenomenal hiking similar to Cape Town, we suggest Hawaii’s Big Island.
However, if your heart is set on seeing the sites exclusive to Cape Town, please be sure to stay close to the tourist venues, do not go out at night, and pray that you come out more than just a statistic.
Please let us know in the comments section if you have recently traveled to Cape Town and what your experience was like.