The aftermath of the Marikana Violence: Is South Africa a safe place to host a world class conference?


A few months ago, shortly after the Marikana Masacre, I posted an article on the effects this violent, unnecessary and tragic outbreak has surely had on Tourism (click here) … notwithstanding that this is way down the ladder of importance, considering the lives that were lost; the tragic circumstances under which families lost their fathers, husbands, brothers… who were also the bread winners and how this will forever affect those families’ lives. Without appearing insensitive to those who were so severely affected by this tragedy, I, like most South Africans, have been following news reports and of course visuals on television as SAPS have been under fire from not just the South African public but the world. Each time the visuals are re-played, I am filled with new horror and the question … Where are we heading? … And so, to pick up from where I left off …

Fact : Tourism is one of the major providers of employment in this country. We have so much to be proud of, so much to be thankful for in what nature has blessed us with: Incomparable weather, breath-taking scenery, game, pristine coastlines, mountains, traditional villages, lakes, abundant bird life, Ad Infinitum.

The dedication and hard work of a “hotelier” (which in this instance, encompasses all members of staff in the hospitality industry) is what makes a hotel or conference centre work … without the nuts and bolts, aka the staff, a venue is an empty shell … We strive to give our conference delegates and holiday makers an experience of a life-time because we are proudly South African and have so much to offer. We form just a portion of people who make the South African Hospitality Industry as professional and up-market as it is. We operate to International Standards because we must if we hope to attract conference delegates and holiday tourists from the rest of the world.

Some news stats below show a sad picture however. Not only sad but frightening in volume and it doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to work out just how the almost weekly outbursts of violence, which appears to be on the increase in South Africa affects the Tourism and Conference Tourism Industry which in turn, affects employment for many of our citizens.

If hotels start closing down because of lack of business from our International visitors, can you even imagine how many jobs will be lost? Can we afford to be this uncaring or insolent and unthinking and just be nonchalant and sit back and watch the country fall into ruins like some other 3rd world countries have done? Surely we must agree that something must be done … someone must intervene to stop this outrageous, barbaric behaviour?

It was deemed to be a “good thing” when the government announced the “Zero Tolerance” theme … however it would appear to some of us that given a little power, there are people who don’t have limits and don’t know when to stop.

Rustenburg – News 24 reported:

I think readers might be in denial as am I still that these events actually took place … all or any of them in a so-called civilised country with so much to offer the world, not only in travel and conference tourism, but also in all sectors of business and services.
So, where to from here?? Are you also sitting with baited breath, waiting, in fear for the next brutality to show up? My word! What a way to live!

Care to join in a debate? You are welcome to post your comments below.

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Article compiled by Rosalie Howard