South Africa is a nation in transition and, as with all change, there is the inevitable fallout. One of the main areas of concern in our fledgling democracy is safety and security, an area that has taken a bit of a beating in recent years.
Unemployment is one of the major catalysts of crime
The large urban metropolises of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town have witnessed an unbelievable surge in population in recent years, with more and more rural people making for the city in an effort to find jobs. Many of these sought-after jobs have not materialised, leaving unemployment rife. Unfortunately, the unenviable result of burgeoning unemployment is crime.
Refugees add pressure
With states like Zimbabwe and the Congo facing both an economic and social meltdown, refugees have had no option but to seek for the sun elsewhere. The ‘Rainbow Nation’, with all her opportunities, has become the preferred destination of these desperate victims of war and greed, resulting in even more pressure on the fragile local economy.
Avoid no-go areas in urban centres
As with the vast majority of cities around the world, there are no-go areas in most South African cities but every single one of them is still a relatively safe place to live in as long as you are vigilant and take the usual precautions. These are five places that we think are some of the safest places to live in South Africa.
o Cape Town – Apart from being a leading international tourist Mecca, Cape Town is an exciting, modern, culturally diverse city that boasts some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. The inner city has seen a recent revamp, with a tremendous amount of international money and influence being spent on its urban renewal. Businesses, together with the city leaders, have made concerted efforts to great effects to keep the city both safe and clean, and the centre of Cape Town has become one of the safest places to both live and do business in.
o The Garden Route – this spectacular area between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth on the east coast of Africa is without a doubt one of the jewels of the nation. Apart from its pure lifestyle, many of the towns along the Garden Route are some of the safest places to bring up your family. Golf estates that offer superior security measures abound in this pristine wilderness area and some of the most foremost golf real estate can be found in George and Knysna.
o Port St John’s – The Transkei Wild Coast is one of the last remaining, untouched regions of incomparable beauty. Formerly a Bantustan, or black homeland, during the days of the apartheid regime, the Transkei has largely been forgotten by the powers to be. Port St John’s is situated on the Indian Ocean coastline and offers a sleepy, sublime lifestyle for the growing family. Schooling may be an issue later on but there are excellent high schools in nearby Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth and Durban. Regional poverty remains a challenge, so petty crime does take place but community programmes have done a lot to uplift the locals and there is now a much better understanding between all members of the PSJ community.
o Cape St. Francis – This sea-side town is situated close to Port Elizabeth and offers a quiet commercial retreat out of season. During the holidays it is a popular destination for local tourists and becomes extremely busy. There are plenty of business options and first-class secondary and tertiary education is available in nearby PE. This is an ideal place for both young and old.
o The West Coast – The west coast of South Africa is sparsely populated, largely due to the fact that it is the dry and arid limb of the nation. There are several small towns all the way up the west coast that are both delightful and safe. Yzerfontein, Churchhaven and St. Helena Bay are probably the pick of the bunch but they all offer a relaxed and secure way of life.