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Netball World Cup head of security investigating thefts at team players’ Cape Town hotels

Netball World Cup head of security investigating thefts at team players’ Cape Town hotels
Major General C Annandale (head of security) during the Netball World Cup 2023 state-of-readiness update briefing at Cape Town International Convention Centre on 1 August 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Ziyaad Douglas / Gallo Images / Netball World Cup 2023)

Petty crime and half-empty arenas have cast a dark cloud on the sparkling Netball World Cup.

Just before the Netball World Cup tournament kicked off in Cape Town last week, Jamaican captain and goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler posted on social media that money had been stolen from her room and that she did not feel safe in South Africa.

Since then, five cases of crime have been reported by three different teams: Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica. 

“Prior to the official start of the tournament. Two Jamaican players sharing a room, both of them had money stolen from their room,” said the tournament’s head of security cluster Major General Charl Annandale at a media briefing on Tuesday.

“The money was not locked in a safe so those are the only two we are aware of from Jamaica.”

“We have a total of five cases that have been reported. Three teams are involved and they are Trinidad and Tobago, Singapore and Jamaica.

“In all the cases there was theft out of their rooms. In one case it was a credit card. In another, it was a wedding band which was subsequently found, and we are in the process of closing that investigation. 

“The remaining cases involve currency that was stolen. There is an investigation team working on that. We are working with hotel management and hotel security and we are getting statements, CCTV footage and card readers.”

A designated investigation team has been assigned but no suspects have been identified yet.

“Other than that, no other cases have been reported,” Annandale added.

“The deployment that’s being done is paying dividends and we can see that in the near absence of serious and violent crime.” 

Nocawe Mafu South Africa Deputy Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture during the Netball World Cup

Nocawe Mafu, South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture, during the Netball World Cup 2023 state-of-readiness update briefing at Cape Town International Convention Centre on 1 August 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Ziyaad Douglas / Gallo Images / Netball World Cup 2023)

Ticket concerns

There have been some problems regarding ticket sales for the matches as well. Ticket prices for the tournament start at R500, which many have complained is too expensive for ordinary South Africans. 

Deputy Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture of South Africa Nocawe Mafu acknowledged that the prices have been steep but they have listened to the feedback and will heed the lessons going into future events held in the country.

“We must acknowledge that Africa and South Africa are hosting the Netball World Cup for the first time and as we go along we are learning to make sure we get lessons out of this in order to improve,” she said. 

Netball world Cup

From left: Patience Shikwambana, Netball World Cup Board Chairperson; Carel Hoffmann, CEO Plankton Tickets; and Major General C Annandale (head of security) at Cape Town International Convention Centre on 1 August 2023 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Ziyaad Douglas / Gallo Images / Netball World Cup 2023)

After a fully packed first weekend of the tournament, the crowd at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC) has shrunk since the second round of the tournament started on Monday.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Proteas suffer third-quarter slaughter in loss to Jamaica, but hope remains for World Cup semifinal challenge

“There have been some issues with ticketing, but I can indicate that we have done our best to make sure that this thing doesn’t become a serious matter. We have improved from day one and I think things are going well,” added Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee Patience Shikwambana.

According to tournament director Priscilla Masisi, the tickets for the crunch semifinal and final matches are “almost sold out”, which will see a return to a full arena.

“Our ticket sales are down but we have seen other games, starting from tomorrow [are] picking up,” she said.

“The tickets for the semifinals and finals are almost sold out. The final is sold out and the two semifinals are almost sold out. They are at 90%, you will see all the crowds coming back to the venue.” DM

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  • Sydney Kaye says:

    Some one from violent crime infested Jamaica saying she does not feel safe in Cape Town is a bit rich. When Dewani murdered his wife in Cape Town he thought he would be easily believed because of the many hijacks here, so possibly the reason for claims for stolen lying around unrecorded cash is the same.

  • Samantha Vandersteen says:

    I wonder which hotel they are staying at?

  • Andre Jansen van Vuuren says:

    I am not surprised. This is South Africa after all. We are not proud(in a humble way), hospitable or caring. We are a nation that just want and expect to be given. Sorry for the experience these foreigners have experienced. It is sad indeed.

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    How horrid! To come to the world’s favourite city and then be robbed in the one place you expect to be cared for, your room, really sucks. I hope these teams have happier times on the court.

  • jon81 says:

    Hotels the world over ALWAYS have a note warning you to keep any valuables in the room safe, and that includes the most expensive hotels. This is not just a Cape Town risk or a South Africa risk, it is most definitely a global risk. If a hotel guest chooses not to put their valuables away in the room safe then they are choosing to take that risk. The risk is made extremely clear by hotels. Fundamentally, we are each responsible for the consequences of our decisions.

    • Jennifer D says:

      Why anyone would leave cash lying around when there is most likely an available safe? I would not leave cash available in any country – that is why we offer safes – use it.

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