Police Minister lashes out at tourist killing

Monday, November 15, 2010

Pretoria - The murder of a British tourist in the Western Cape has drawn outrage from the South African police leadership, with Minister Nathi Mthethwa vowing that his members will find those responsible for the "horrendous" killing.

Minister Mthethwa said he was saddened and shocked at the murder of the 28-year-old woman and urged the community to work with police to track down the murderers.

The woman and her 31-year-old husband, whom media reports have identified as Anni and Shrien Dewani, - had been married for two weeks. They arrived in Cape Town on Friday for their honeymoon.

They were in a taxi owned by a shuttle service company, heading to Gugulethu. They were attacked by two armed men at the intersection of NY108 and NY112 around 11pm on Saturday.

The driver was forced out of the vehicle, and the gunmen sped off with the couple still inside the vehicle.

Mr Dewani was returned unharmed. A search for the hijacked vehicle led police to Lingelethu West. The wife's body was found on the back seat of the vehicle.

"If this devious action was intended to detract from our achievements as a country or threaten our law-abiding citizens and visitors, we will not tolerate that. We urge the citizens of Gugulethu and surrounding areas, in partnership with the police, to triple their actions in ensuring that these scoundrels are speedily apprehended," Mthethwa said.

Cape Town Executive Mayor Dan Plato sent his condolences to the victim's husband and family.

"My thoughts and prayers are with you during this extremely difficult time. I am outraged at this disgraceful, wanton act of violence," said Plato.

He added that such an incident tarnished the City's reputation as a tourist destination.

"The perpetrators of this act have let us all down, because the immense warmth we have to offer visitors has been overshadowed by their selfish act."

For his part, Mthethwa called on tourists to also play a role in ensuring that they did not become victims of crime.

"As they would do in any country across the world, we urge them to exercise caution and notably when they need general information, to consult the one-stop tourist information resource centres, which are available across the country" the minister added.

Police management in the Western Cape is overseeing the investigation and will update National Commissioner General Bheki Cele on the progress.

"It is appalling that the actions of one or two thugs should bring our entire country into disrepute in the eyes of the world," Cele said.

He also called on the community to do their civic duty and to report any information related to the hijacking and murder to police.

Police have urged anyone with information to call the investigating officer, Riaan Theron, on 082 463 8706 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.