(File under: things I won't be telling mom about.)

U.S. Consulate General, Johannesburg
Warden Message – November 27, 2007

This warden message is being issued to remind Americans that crime levels tend to increase during the holiday season. With that in mind, please review and put into practice the following security precautions. Please consult the Consular Information Sheet for South Africa at www.travel.state.gov for additional precautions.


Armed robbery of cash-in-transit vehicles and personnel occurs throughout South Africa, and peaks during December and January due to the increase in cash flow from commercial stores to banks. These attacks have also included incidents at major malls and in large grocery stores. Individuals should raise their level of situational awareness while in the vicinity of cash-in-transit vehicles, and to the extent possible avoid areas where they are located.

As an added note of caution, please be vigilant when using your Debit/Credit cards at ATMs. There have been several reports of ATM PIN thefts/ATM cloning schemes that result in multiple unauthorized cash withdrawals from personal accounts. If you need to use an ATM, first make sure no one is loitering in the area. Should someone offer to "help" you, leave the area immediately. Generally one should avoid using an ATM in a remote area.

Smash & Grabs/Carjacking:

Motorists are urged to be extremely cautious when approaching intersections and to hide bags, cell phones, and other valuables from view. Criminals are on the lookout for valuable items they can see through the car windows. Doors should be kept locked and windows rolled up at all times.

Crimes against property, such as carjacking, have often been accompanied by violent acts, including murder, when victims resist or are slow to respond to attackers’ demands. South Africa also has the highest incidence of reported rape in the world. Foreigners are not specifically targeted, but several have been the victims of rape. Victims of violent crime, especially rape, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical attention, including antiretroviral therapy against HIV/AIDS. Questions about how to receive such treatment should be directed to the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

In Public Areas:

When in public, remain vigilant for signs of trouble. Before entering any establishment, scan the area for suspicious activity to avoid walking into a robbery in progress. Remember where the nearest fire exits and other avenues of escape are located. Avoid walking or driving near cash in-transit vans since they are frequently targeted by heavily armed gangs. If you hear shots fired, immediately get down on the ground. Do not try to investigate or intervene.

Registration with U.S. Consulates General:

We strongly recommend that you register your presence in South Africa with the nearest U.S. Consulate General via our registration site located at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/.

For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Worldwide Caution, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings can be found. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions:

The U.S. Embassy is located at 877 Pretorius Street, Arcadia in Pretoria, telephone (27-12) 431-4000 (from South Africa 012-431-4000), fax (27-12) 431-5504 (from South Africa 012-431-5504). The U.S. Embassy web site is http://usembassy.state.gov/pretoria/.

The U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg provides consular services for Americans in the Pretoria area. The Consulate General in Johannesburg is located at No. 1 River Street (corner of River and Riviera Road), Killarney, Johannesburg telephone (27-11) 644-8000 (from South Africa 011-644-8000), fax (27-11) 646-6916 (from South Africa (011-646-6916). Its consular jurisdiction includes Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, NorthWest, and Free State provinces.

The Consulate General in Cape Town is located at the 2 Reddam Avenue, Westlake, Cape Town, telephone (27-21) 702-7300 (from South Africa 021-702-7300), fax (27-21) 702-7493 (from South Africa 021-702-7493). Its consular jurisdiction includes Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and Northern Cape provinces.

The Consulate General in Durban is located at the Old Mutual Building, 31st floor, 303 West Street, telephone (27-31) 305-7600 (from South Africa 031-305-7600), fax (27-31) 305-7691 (from South Africa 031-305-7691). Its consular jurisdiction includes KwaZulu-Natal Province.

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