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Would love some opinions!


Nics
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Hi There

Really keen to hear your opinions. Maybe I'm too paranoid but really not comfortable with this.

Just heard that our school is trying to arrange a sports tour to South Africa which my child will fall into.

I can't think of anything worse than sending my primary school child on a plane back to South Africa.

Judging from some of the research I could find - it appears South Africa has double the murder rate to Pakistan - and the Australian team cancelled their trip to Pakistan as it was too dangerous. :holy:

Yikes! This is making my stomach turn!! ;)

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Hi

Yeah seems a bit strange...why not tour New Zealand?

Although you dont hear of too many incidents involving younger school kids as I think most crime is theft related. Why take the chance though. Wrong place at the wrong time could be an issue!

Andre

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Hi

Yeah seems a bit strange...why not tour New Zealand?

Although you dont hear of too many incidents involving younger school kids as I think most crime is theft related. Why take the chance though. Wrong place at the wrong time could be an issue!

Andre

My sentiments. That's why I want lots of opinions and facts so that I can educate the school. I agree - New Zealand would be a much wiser tour destination!

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Wow, Nics!

There is no way they can do that... it is looking for trouble?

I think there are enough Saffers there to oppose such a tour!

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Wow, Nics!

There is no way they can do that... it is looking for trouble?

I think there are enough Saffers there to oppose such a tour!

Believe it or not - it's a South African parent helping to organise it.....

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I read recently that South Africa has the most dangerous schools in the world.

"South African schools were the most dangerous in the world with only 23 percent of pupils saying they felt safe at school, the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) said on Tuesday."

The latest school yard game (apparently played by 7 year olds) is Rape me... Rape me.... This same article claims that the single most common site of crimes against children (robbery, assault, sexual violence - some by teachers) is in the schools.

I would suggest that the teachers go and spend a little time on the internet investigating their destination!

IMHO I would not allow my child to visit here under any circumstances! It's simply not worth the risk.

Nics, let us know what your school decides.

Foncused

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I have 2 kids and NOT A CHANCE I would let them go on a sports tour to S.A. There are far safer countries to visit for a sports tour. Never mind closer and cheaper - have you seen the price of airfares to S.A. lately.

When I travel I get various travel warnings - I am sure I saw one recently about avoiding travel to S.A.

Let me see if I can dig it up - Smarttraveller.gov.au Status has been downgraded, but warning status is still very high.

Rgds

Matman

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Wow - thanks so much - this is SO helpful!

Really gathering lots of info now - they can't possibly go ahead with all these facts!

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Since your worried about it, have you brought this up with the headmaster? or whom ever is organizing the tour? Tell them the reasons why your concerned about it.

I must say that i wouldnt have a problem if my kiddo toured SA.

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I would also be very concerned and would definitely no let my child go back on a school tour. Towards the end of March a forum member posted a website to look at, which is the Australian Government warning people about travelling to SA. Perhaps your headmaster and other parents in the team should read.

Crime in South Africa

We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution in South Africa because of the high level of serious crime. Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks. There is a high incidence of muggings, armed robbery and other forms of theft. Murders, rapes and carjackings involving foreign tourists have also been reported. Travellers have been robbed and assaulted after having their food or drinks spiked. Avoid isolated beaches, lookouts and picnic areas.

Crime is significantly higher after dark in the centres of major cities and in township areas. The inner suburbs of Johannesburg (Berea and Hillbrow) and the beachfront in Durban are particularly prone to crime and you should avoid travelling to these areas. As crime rates are generally high in the townships, you should only visit township areas with an organised tour run by a reputable company.

Due to the very high prevalence of HIV/AIDS, victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.

When travelling by car, you should keep the doors locked and the windows up. Valuables should be kept out of sight, and you should exercise vigilance in public places.

Criminals operate out of the airport in Johannesburg, following some overseas visitors to their homes or hotels and robbing them. We advise against accepting unsolicited assistance with transport when arriving at the airport in Johannesburg. Assaults and robberies have also taken place on local commuter and metro trains between Johannesburg and Pretoria, as well as on commuter trains in Cape Town.

Hikers have been attacked on the tracks of Table Mountain in Cape Town.

There is a luggage theft and pilferage problem at Johannesburg and Cape Town airports. Use an airport plastic wrapping service when available and avoid placing electronics, jewellery, cameras and other valuables into checked luggage.

Reference : www.australia.gov.au , http://smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/South_Africa

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Where / which cities do they intent to go to?

How many students per adult will go - that is how many students will an adult have to look after?

Do the organizers have experience in overseas trips?

How many of these adults know RSA?

Is it not just a way for the parent who organise it to get a cheap trip to RSA for his own business or to visit family?

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Hello Nics

Personally there is no possibility that I would ever let my child go to SA.

As they will be touring I presume they will spend some time travelling on the roads. SA also has the most dangerous roads in the world with the highest number of road deaths. Your child's driver will probably be, well I am not going to get into trouble by being specific but try for a minute picture your child's bus driver.

Michael

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Nics

I assume its to Kearsney/Hilton/Michaelhouse??

My concern would be the travel arrangements to/fro from school and the inevitable sightseeing. I also assume they will be living in the dorms on campus? Never been an incident at the above schools that I know of?

Tough one this. I personally don't wat my kids going to SA as they are just to relaxed and have no idea of the dangers. When I go back to SA I get into 'defensive mode" within hours. My kids dont know how.....

If you heart says NO-follow it.

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One of my work colleagues had a similar experience recently. His kids' school are planning a school tour to South Africa to experience the local culture and visit AIDS orphans, blah blah, you know the usual crap that people from first world countries want to experience in Africa. He went to see the school principal to warn him about the dangers.

Aussies don't understand the problems in Africa, also don't know the dangers and what to look out for. Like they say, ignorance is bliss. I would not be sending my kid on a school tour to Africa, especially if they plan to visit townships, etc. as part of the cultural experience.

Bottom line, the only way my kid will be going back, is if I accompany him when we go visit family.

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Nics

I assume its to Kearsney/Hilton/Michaelhouse??

My concern would be the travel arrangements to/fro from school and the inevitable sightseeing. I also assume they will be living in the dorms on campus? Never been an incident at the above schools that I know of?

Tough one this. I personally don't wat my kids going to SA as they are just to relaxed and have no idea of the dangers. When I go back to SA I get into 'defensive mode" within hours. My kids dont know how.....

If you heart says NO-follow it.

Hi

Yip - so far it looks like Natal - and the schools you mention. But they may possibly be staying with families in the area.

Read that a man was found on the road in his car just outside Hilton this last week with black bag over this head!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Besides that - my child says he doesn't want to go either.

Just unfair if they still go ahead and my kid misses out.

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One of my work colleagues had a similar experience recently. His kids' school are planning a school tour to South Africa to experience the local culture and visit AIDS orphans, blah blah, you know the usual crap that people from first world countries want to experience in Africa. He went to see the school principal to warn him about the dangers.

Aussies don't understand the problems in Africa, also don't know the dangers and what to look out for. Like they say, ignorance is bliss. I would not be sending my kid on a school tour to Africa, especially if they plan to visit townships, etc. as part of the cultural experience.

Bottom line, the only way my kid will be going back, is if I accompany him when we go visit family.

What was the outcome when he went to see the principal?

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Where / which cities do they intent to go to?

How many students per adult will go - that is how many students will an adult have to look after?

Do the organizers have experience in overseas trips?

How many of these adults know RSA?

Is it not just a way for the parent who organise it to get a cheap trip to RSA for his own business or to visit family?

About 1 SA parent and I am sure there will be a couple of teachers.

My issue is that I cannot even guarantee my own safety as an adult over there - how could I possible guarantee the safety of a child - whether it is one or two?

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What was the outcome when he went to see the principal?

Don't know, I'll ask him.

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Believe it or not - it's a South African parent helping to organise it.....

*shakes head*

What in [insert your favourite deity]'s name is wrong with that person??

Jeez some people's common sense levels are REALLY questionable... :holy:

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Hi guys

I have to say I agree with everyone, there is now way I'd let my young child go on a sport tour to a country that we all know is incredibly high risk (even the Aus government ranks it as a high risk to visit) Why would we send our children to a country we left for the very reason that we felt it was not safe for adults (many with military training) to live in and that with people who seem to have no idea of the very real risks involved.

I've only been in Aus 2 years and already I'm sooo glad to be out of what looks more and more to me like a war zone. Maybe I'm over stating this but would we send I children to tour Zambia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Beruit, Bagdad ...mmm somehow I don't think so.

I'd love my children to see SA someday, with me to show them places I think are among the most incredible in the world. But I've no intention of going back for many, many years. I have nephews and neices there and I hear shocking stuff going on in their schools all the time.

Sorry to rant a bit, but this is just one of those topics I can't ignore.

Have a great, free, safe day in Australia everyone :-)

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Thanks so much for the replies everyone.

This has really made me feel a lot better dealing with the issue and knowing that we are not just neurotic parents (which I've been told before)!

BTW - my kid (11 years old) is at the golf club right now - ALL ALONE!!! Yes - there are other juniors around - but there is no official adult supervising!!! YIKES.

Although a bit nervous about it - as this is the first time - I do feel okay. They know the dangers of paedophiles and out of control teenagers - so armed with the necessary tools to deal with that. Plus - I'm getting calls every 30 mins to let me know exactly what they doing. But - its really good to know that they can have that freedom - I don't have to freak that they are going to have an armed robbery on one the holes on the course!!! Which is what happened recently to a friends son on a golf course in Cape Town.

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Hi,

I felt uneasy about this, after reading just 2 lines!!!Have to say I obviously don't know the teacher, but have an uneasy feeling about this.

Seems like this teacher wants a trip back to RSA for personal reasons?! Propably using the cover of a school tour to see how things changed over here and slipping in a visit to friends and family.

IMHO - the kids are primary school and don't you think it's asking a bit much to send a primary school kid overseas for perhaps 4 weeks!? They will treat this as a holiday on the side and will not be on guard. The teachers possibly too and this puts their safety at risk. Tourists are easy pickings because of this.

About the orphanages and townships. Is that the only picture the world has about RSA? Surely there's more to RSA than this?

I know it sounds as if RSA has a boogy man around every corner, but why risk your childs life. As was said - wrong place, wrong time.

Your child doesn't want to go and you have concerns too. He might miss out on it, but there are other things he can experience to make his life meaningful. And surely you'll visit as a family some time in the future.

I say - follow your gut feeling - it never lies!

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I won't even consider it! I won't let my dog go for a walk there in the streets, let alone my kids alone there. Supervision or not. :thumbdown:

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I can't believe that your child's school is even CONSIDERING this tour!! Are they out of their minds?

My daughter's year group (2 classes totalling 40 kids) is going on a 10 day trip to Durban and I am already a nervous wreck about it. The Std 7 trip is a highlight for them and they look forward to it for years, but I am still nervous. I know that many other parents are too.

I take comfort in knowing that we have 4 teachers accompanying them, all of whom know the area intimately, and are "SA streetwise". They will be staying at an educational centre specifically for kids. The staff there are highly qualified.

We have also arranged for them to fly (from Lanseria) rather than drive as we don't want them on SA's roads.

There is NO WAY IN HELL I would allow a primary school child to fly halfway across the world with "clueless" people. No offence intended, but they DO NOT know how things work in Africa. :ph34r:

Take care, and let us know the outcome.

zorba

:thumbdown:

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Hi all

I have been in the tourism transport business for the last 12 years in Cape Town. One of our biggest markets is touring sports teams from abroad, mostly the UK. Our busiest period is in the July UK school holidays, and we can be carrying up to 25 different UK schools in a single day around the Cape. In the 12 years that I have dealt with visiting school teams, I can only recall one incident of crime (non-violent) that affected a group, and this is out of hundreds of teams that have visited over the years.

I am a father of 2 small children myself, and I am not immune to your fears. I was hijacked at my home in November last year, and I want to move to OZ myself to give my kids a future. My personal feeling is that there is a bit too much paranoia in this thread regarding the real risks of a school tour to SA presently. I understand your fear, it is real and not to be underestimated. However my first hand and practical experience in this regard tells me that if your children come on an organised school tour they will have a ball and will return home with wonderful memories.

For ethical reasons I will not punt my firm, although it is a high profile coach company in Cape Town. There are several reputable operators in SA, so if your child has the opportunity to travel to SA ensure that they are going to travel with one of them! For unbiased advice in this regard feel free to PM me, and if I have any concerns about the operator that your school is using I will voice this concern or allay your fears.

Kind regards

Brisbound

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Guest natalie3

This is a difficult one..i suppose its "safer" because they are in a group the whole time and under strict supervision..

It also depends on where exactly they are going..if they are going to the townships i would say definitely no...as well as certain areas in jhb...but i know natal is safer than gauteng..i think the fact that they are not teenagers yet that want to go clubbing and driving around at night also makes it safer..

I think you have to just ask yourself what your gut is saying ..if its no then sorry..tuffies..no.

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