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Google Maps removes crime hotspot Nyanga from its routes



  • Google has removed Nyanga from the routes that its navigation system picks up.
  • This was after an American tourist was directed to Simon’s Town via Nyanga, where he was attacked and shot.
  • Google has collaborated with the tourism department to promote South Africa as a safe destination.

Global tech giant Google has removed crime hotspot Nyanga from its Google Maps navigation system after it provided tourists with directions through the heart of the suburb.

The tourism department and Google signed a collaboration to promote South Africa as a “safe” tourist destination on Monday in an effort to boost tourism.

Google South Africa director Alistair Mokoena and Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille signed the agreement in Parliament.

Part of the move was the removal of Nyanga from routes for tourists who land in Cape Town.

This comes hot on the heels of an attack on American tourist Walter Fischel in Nyanga about a week ago after the navigation system directed him through the suburb when he wanted to avoid traffic on his way to Simon’s Town. He was shot in the face.

In August, British doctor Kar Hao Teoh was also shot dead in Nyanga when he had to divert from the N2 and find an alternative route during a taxi strike in Cape Town.

Mokoena said there were conversations between Google, the minister, and the City of Cape Town in an attempt to find a solution.

“We have identified crime hotspots, and we [are] working to ensure that those crime hotspots do not form part of the route so that people are able to connect to their destinations safely.

“There is a specific area around the Nyanga, around the airport intersection [which] we [are] looking to ensure that doesn’t become a feature when we recommend the fastest possible routes,” Mokoena said.

He said Google was “excited” to partner with the Department of Tourism and sign a letter of intent, which aims to position South Africa as a great tourist destination.

“As a company that prides itself in organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful, we look forward to rolling out various programs in conjunction with the department to fast-track digital transformation in the sector, helping with digital skills and showcasing South African tourism through our Google Arts and Culture platform,” Mokoena added.

De Lille said the tourism department was mandated to create conditions conducive to the growth and development of tourism in the country by the private sector.

“No monetary exchange will take place as a result of this agreement.”

“This partnership is in line with [our] mission to grow tourism to its full potential, unlock the power of technology in the sector and increase arrivals to South Africa to support economic growth and job creation in South Africa,” De Lille added.

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