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Geloftevolk Republikeine Germany

Safety Tips


Here are our suggestions:

1.This process begins before you leave home:

  • Avoid taking valuable jewelry, watches, expensive purses, or even costly articles of clothing.
  • Leave behind unnecessary objects of value such as extra credit cards, social security cards, family valuables, and so on.
  • Traveling light is a good idea - it is less to look after and keep track of.
  • Bring a pouch or money belt for carrying your necessary valuables such as your passport and credit card. These are far safer than purses, handbags, wallets, and especially fanny packs.
  • Consider setting a daily limit on your credit card (and bank card if you bring it) so that if your card is stolen the thief will only have access to a set amount of money and not the full balance of your account.
  • Bring important telephone numbers with you. A good example would be to have your credit card company's international number in case your card is stolen or lost.
  • If you are bringing anything that is essential to you, such as glasses or prescription drugs, make sure to bring extras. 
  • For prescription drugs, you will also need to carry a note from your doctor certifying that you need and/or are certified to posses that drug. Make sure you have enough to last during your trip. Keep them in their original prescription bottles and always in your carry-on luggage.
  • Pack all valuables in your carry on. Things like cameras, laptops, important documents, and so on should go in your carry on. This will keep dishonest luggage inspectors, especially in African airports, from stealing your valuables.
  • Put your name, address and telephone numbers inside and outside of each piece of luggage. Use covered luggage tags to avoid casual observation of your identity or nationality. If possible, lock your luggage.
  • It is always a good idea to bring extra passport photos, as well as a copy of your passport information page, in order to make it easier to get a new passport in the event that it is stolen or lost.
  • Better yet, scan a copy of all your valuable documents (passport information page, credit card, etc) into your computer and then email them to yourself. That way, if you need them, you can access these documents from any computer that has an Internet connection.

2. Once you arrive in Africa, there are a few more things to consider:

  • We cannot outline every possible scenario of what could happen, but just keep in mind that the main, underlying theme, one that applies to travel no matter where you go, is to use common sense at all times.
  • One of your objectives should be to blend in as much as is possible. Wearing modest apparel with no obvious flashy jewelry or cameras is a good idea.
  • Your passport is one of your most valuable possessions. Keep it somewhere that you know it will be safe, such as a hotel safety deposit box or your room safe, where available.
  • For any other valuables that you must bring, never leave them in plain sight or unattended, whether in your room, or on your person. As with your passport, store them safely away in a hotel safety box, a room safe, or some other place of equal or greater security.
  • Your passport, cash and credit cards are most secure when locked in a hotel safe.
  • While traveling, never leave backpacks, purses, hand luggage, etc unattended.
  • You should always closely watch your personal belongings.
  • Do not carry around large amounts of cash. There are plenty of ATMs where you can withdraw money, either with your bankcard or with your credit card.
  • Be cautious and ensure that you have total privacy when drawing money from ATMs.
  • Never count your money in public. This attracts unwanted attention.
  • When you go to pay for something, try to be as discreet as possible and count your money inside the wallet, not in your hand.
  • One great trick is to carry two wallets. Use one to hold your credit cards and the bulk of your cash and use the other as a decoy. Put money and some insignificant cards, papers, etc into the decoy wallet to make it appear real. Then if a thief confronts you give him/her your decoy wallet.
  • Alternatively, put your credit cards and big bills in your money belt and use your wallet to hold small change, enough for the day, as well as insignificant papers, etc. Then if your wallet is taken your loss will be minimal.
  • Always do things in groups of three or more. Wandering off by yourself in territory that you are not familiar with can be unwise.
  • Walking at night, especially in downtown areas, public parks, along footpaths, on beaches, and in poorly lit areas, by yourself or with a small group, without being accompanied by a guide or expert, is dangerous.
  • Avoid public demonstrations, civil disturbances, etc. If and when these happen, there may be violence involved. Police are generally unable to properly manage large demonstrations and they often resort to excessive force to break up large crowds.
  • Always be wary of pickpockets who will often distract you by jostling you, asking for directions, creating a disturbance, etc.
  • If you are ever in a situation where you are being robbed or confronted by a criminal, it is usually best not to resist. Money and credit cards are easily replaced, but personal health is not.
  • In many parts of Africa, thieves and con artists have been known to impersonate police officers, thus you are strongly encouraged to ask for identification if approached by individuals identifying themselves as police officials, uniformed or not.

 Personal Safety (Confronting Danger):
  1. Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong, something is probably wrong.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings.
  3. Walk close to the curb, facing oncoming traffic.
  4. Carry bags close to your body.
  5. Look confident.
  6. Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  7. If you are being followed, head for a crowded place.
  8. If people start milling around you, it could a set-up for a mugging.
  9. Know yourself, how do you react in a crisis situation? Do you scream, cry, freeze? How would you defend yourself?
  10. Remember there is no right or wrong approach to dangerous situations.
  11. Show your anger, not your fear. a furious reaction often may stop an attack. Remember an attacker is looking for an easy victim. Yelling is always a good deterrent (a good choice is to yell FIRE) this will draw attention to those who do not want to get involved but may be concerned for their own safety and may come to help.
  12. If there are other people around, yell loudly enough to get their attention to what the assailant is doing.

    "This man is bothering me", "Get your hands off of me".

  13. If you are alone and do not know anyone on the street or nearby, try calling a name out to make the attacker or assailant to believe you may be with someone. This may also help if you are alone at home.
  14. If someone has a weapon stay calm and wait for an opportunity. Weapons make the situation more dangerous and difficult, but there still may be something you can do about the situation.


Non-resistance to prevent physical violence, Negotiate, Stall for time, Distracting or diverting the assailant, then fleeing, Verbal assertiveness, Screaming, and using a whistle or shriek alarm to attract attention and help

ATM Machines: Robberies happen at ATM machines throughout the world. Here are some safety tips which may make using the ATM's safer.

  1. If you drive to the ATM it is best to lock your car when using the ATM. But, keep your keys handy so you can enter your car quickly after completing your transaction.
  2. Be alert for anything suspicious, especially two or more people in a nearby vehicle, particularly if no one else is at the ATM, or someone who just appears to be hanging around the area.
  3. When waiting in line wait well behind the person or persons using the ATM.
  4. Never bank at a poorly lit or obscured ATM.
  5. When you are using the ATM and someone is closer than you would like ask them to step back a few steps. If they do not step back it may be best to cancel your transaction and wait in your locked vehicle until that person leaves or you could go to another ATM.
  6. Do not write your PIN on your ATM card,
  7. If you must use your ATM card after dark go with a friend if possible. Many ATM robberies happen between midnight and 6 a.m..
  8. Report all ATM crimes to the local law enforcement and to your financial institution.

Vehicle Crimes:

  1. Try to park your car in a well lighted area, and if possible, avoid parking next to large vehicles, these vehicles can block the view of your car and make it harder to detect someone breaking in.
  2. Do not leave items of value in the car in plan sight.
  3. When leaving your car for any amount of time lock it. Not only does this assist in preventing theft, but it is required by regulation.
  4. If the vehicle is equipped with a gear lock, immobiliser or other type of anti-theft equipment, USE IT



Single Quarters and Married Quarters Security:

  1. When arriving at a new location unpack as soon as possible. Do not leave items unattended outside your quarters.
  2. Get to know your neighbours, not only does this promote a friendly environment, but also increases the awareness in your community.
  3. Everyone has a role to play in security of your living area.
  4. Always lock your door when you leave, this includes when doing laundry or for those with common areas to utilize the facilities on your floor.
  5. When coming home, have your key in your hand. It can be used as a defence weapon.
  6. Secure your personal property and mark it with your ID or force number in a discrete location that only you know.
  7. If you observe strangers hanging around ask them to leave or notify the Military Police or SAPS.
  8. Do not allow entry into your living area to persons you do not know.
  9. If you have a peep hole use it.
  10. Illuminate the entrance to your home.



Jogging Safety:

  1. Physical Fitness is a major part of military life, but ensure your safety when you exercise alone.
  2. Jog with a partner.
  3. Jog in familiar areas, and avoid secluded places.
  4. Do not jog alone after dark.
  5. Wear a reflective vest during hours of darkness.
  6. Carry a whistle when you jog.
  7. Always lock your door when you leave and carry a key, someone might be waiting for you to leave.
  8. Always be aware of your surroundings.



Phone Calls:

  1. Dealing with obscene or annoying phones calls, first thing hang up!
  2. Do not talk to strangers.
  3. Do not interview the caller to try to find out who he or she is.
  4. Do not let your answering machine give you away, that you live alone or are not home. Suggested recorded message "Your message is important to me, please leave your name and number". This message does not leave indication that no one is home or that you are alone. Do not use your name on the answering machine.
  5. Reports threats and continued harassment to the Military Police or the South African Police Service, and to TELCOM.



In the Car:

  1. Ensure your car is in good working order and you have enough petrol.
  2. Make sure you know how to change a flat tyre on your own and make minor repairs.
  3. Reverse into a parking bay as you can get out faster, if necessary.
  4. Park your car in a well-lit area.
  5. If approached by a stranger, lean on the hooter to attract attention or drive away.
  6. Keep all doors locked while driving.
  7. Don't keep valuables, such as handbags or cell phones, on the passenger seat.
  8. Keep enough distance from the car in front to enable you to change lanes and drive away in a hurry.
  9. Look around before entering your driveway.
  10. Don't pick up hitch-hikers. If flagged down, drive to the nearest police station for help or phone the emergency number 10111.
When to Shoot:
It is noticed with great concern that there is general confusion over the issue of the public shooting and killing or wounding another person under differing circumstances.  People have a responsibility to protect themselves in a situation where they need to discharge a firearm in the process of self-protection.
What exactly are the legal requirements of self-defense?  The following points are important:
  • The attack must be unlawful.
  • The attack must be imminent or have commenced.
  • The attack must not have been completed.  One cannot act on grounds of self-defense for an attack committed an hour earlier.
  • The defensive action must be directed against the attacker.
  • The defensive action must be proportionate to the circumstances.  The value of property involved and the instrument used for attack are important considerations.
The test used by the court to determine the lawfulness of the defensive action is that of a reasonable man.  The question to be asked is whether a reasonable man in the same position would have done the same thing.  
In all cases where a person is killed, the matter is investigated to establish if anyone was responsible for the death.  This is the point when people perceive they are being charged with murder by the police and believe they cannot defend themselves against an unlawful attack without being charged.  If your action is within the principles of self-defense, there is nothing to worry about.
Types of hijackings:
Freight Hijacking – A commercial vehicle is hijacked not only to secure the vehicle but also its cargo, which can be of substantial value.  Frequently, the cargo is of more interest to the hijacker than the truck.
Transport Hijacking – The vehicle is taken for the express purpose of using it as transport during other crimes such as drug dealing, burglaries, bank robberies and gun running.  The vehicles are probably later cannibalised for spare parts or simply dumped.
Showmanship Hijacking – A gang operates out of egotistical bravado, acting on the “this is a cool thing to be doing” rationale.  Peer group pressure is very high and individuals may be coerced into more dangerous and daredevil approaches; being labeled a “sissy” if they don’t.  Thus intimidation, violence and vandalism are associated with the crime.  Drugs and alcohol may also be a motive as theft of the victim’s personal belongings is commonplace.
Operational Hijacking – A group formally work together in a more structured way.  They usually have experience in car theft and have established contacts within the motorcar underworld that will receive and pay cash for stolen vehicles or spare parts.
Syndicate Hijacking – The most organised of all and often has international connections.  A network of hijacking groups is established with the overall coordinator, syndicating out work so that he remains out of view in exactly the same way as the drug baron uses pushers.  This makes identifying and arresting the ultimate boss 
very difficult.  Additionally, a syndicate is often backed by a lot of money, especially if there are international links and makes full use of any potential to bribe the authorities in order to protect their operations.
Modus Operandi used by the hijackers:
  • Most hijackings take place in the driveways of residential areas.  These hijackers prefer areas with accessible escape routes.
  • Hijackings take place while stationed at any traffic sign or intersection.
  • Hijackings take place while stationary next to the road, e.g. to answer cell phone.
  • Hijackings also occur at post offices and parking areas or you may be followed leaving the filling station with the objective to hijack your vehicle where it is quiet.
  • The hijackers sometimes use a vehicle to force the victim off the road.
  • Hijackings take place at schools when dropping off / picking up children.
  • Hijackings take place while the vehicle is idling when off-loading / loading passengers.
  • Hijackings take place when advertising your vehicle for sale (Test drive method).
  • Bogus Police or Traffic Officers also conduct hijackings (Blue light scenario).
Approaching and entering your driveway:
  • 2km from your house strategy.  Be extra alert.  Switch off the car radio and concentrate on your surroundings.  If you have noticed any vehicle behind you, use the techniques you have learned during the hijack prevention & survival course to determine whether you are being followed.  
  • Remember to stop your vehicle just on the inside of the gate and select reverse whilst waiting for the gate to close.  This creates confusion and may buy you a few seconds for the gate to close completely behind you.
  • Check your driveway and street before you leave or enter your premises.
  • Make sure your driveway is well lit and clear from shrubbery where perpetrators can hide.
  • Be aware of unknown pedestrians close to your residential address – do not turn into your driveway – pass and go back later.
  • Liaise with your neighbours – know them.
  • Be aware of vehicles parked close to your address with occupants inside.  It might be perpetrators observing the area.
  • Be alert if your animals do not greet you at the gate as usual.  It might be that the perpetrators over-powered them.
  • Phone your home and ask for someone to make sure your driveway is safe and to open and close the gate for you.
  • When returning home after dark, ensure that an outside light is on, or have someone meet you at the gate.  Check with your armed response company if they are rendering rendezvous services.
  • If at any time you have to open the gate yourself, make sure nobody suspicious around and the road is clear.  Stop right in front of your gate.  Do not switch off the vehicle, leave the key in the ignition, get out and close the door (not creating temptation).  Then open the gate.  Drive in and close the gate immediately behind you.
  • If you have small children in the vehicle, take the key with you (this is the only exception).  You need the key as a “negotiating tool”.  The perpetrators want your vehicle and you want your children.
  • If your children are older, it is advised that they exit the vehicle with you when opening the gate so that you are all separated from the vehicle should an attack occur.
Parking your vehicle:
  • Check rear-view mirror to ensure you are not being followed.
  • When exiting your vehicle, be cautious and aware of surrounding obstructions and shrubbery that may be concealing a hijacker.
  • Never sit in your parked vehicle without being conscious of your surroundings.  Sleeping in a stationary vehicle is particularly dangerous.
  • When approaching your driveway, be on the lookout for suspicious vehicles / persons.  This is very important as the majority of hijackers approach their victims in home driveways.
Whilst entering your vehicle and while driving, the following should be considered:
  • Have your key ready, but not visible.
  • Inspect the outside and inside of the vehicle before unlocking.  Check underneath your vehicle for items placed under the wheels.  Also make sure nobody is hiding on the passenger side before you enter your vehicle.  (As explained during the hijack prevention & survival course)
  • Know your destination and directions to it; and be alert should you get lost.
  • Always drive with your windows closed and doors locked.
  • Make a mental note of any Police Stations in the vicinity.
  • When stopping behind another vehicle, leave half a vehicle length in front of your vehicle to make an emergency escape if necessary.
  • When dropping off a passenger, make sure they are safely in their own vehicle before departing.
  • Avoid driving through high crime or unfamiliar areas.
  • Avoid driving late at night / early hours of the morning when the roads are quiet.
  • Drive in the center lane away from pedestrians where possible.
  • If possible, never drive alone.
  • NEVER, EVER pick up hitchhikers or strangers.  (VERY IMPORTANT)
  • Never follow routine routes when driving; change on a regular basis.
Other situations:
  • If approached by a stranger while in your vehicle, drive off if possible or use your hooter to attract attention.
  • Lock your doors, close your windows and do not have bags or briefcases visible in the vehicle.  Use the boot for this.  Cell phone should also not be visible.  
  • There are times and days that these items are visible in the vehicle.  Try and open the window they might “smash & grab” about 3 cm, so the window can absorb the sudden impact.  If you’ve left your stopping distance you may be able to escape.
  • Be constantly on the lookout for suspicious looking characters or vehicles and do not hesitate to report them to the SAPS.
  • Always be on the alert for potential danger, and be on the lookout for possible escape routes and safe refuge along the way.
  • When approaching a red traffic light at night, slow down so that you only reach it when it turns green.
  • Do not take anything from people standing at traffic lights or places where they gather (job seekers on gathering points).  Perpetrators are usually standing among these people.
  • Make sure you are not followed.  If you suspect you are being followed, drive to the nearest Police Station or any busy public area.
  • If any person or vehicle in a high-risk area arouses your suspicions, treat it as hostile and take appropriate action, e.g. when approaching a red traffic light, slow down, check for oncoming traffic and if clear, drive through the intersection.  A fine will be preferable to an attack.  Treat stop streets in the same way.  Thereafter call for assistance if necessary.  Always report these incidents to the SAPS.  But remember, this is not an excuse to ignore the rules of the road.  The onus will be on you to prove in a court of law that you had justifiable reason to act the way you did and this is only in the case of a real, life-threatening emergency. 
  • Should a suspicious vehicle in fact be a (unmarked) SAPS vehicle, the Police must identify themselves by:
    • Use of a blue light, loudspeaker or any other police equipment.
    • The flash of a badge through the window whilst driving is not enough.
    • The Police must go all out in order to let the public know who they are.
  • Consider the following actions:
    • Switch on emergency lights and put your hand out the window (if possible), indicating that they should follow you.  Your intention must be very clear and understandable.
    • By exceeding the speed limit, you are sending out a message of suspicion, e.g. stolen / hijacked vehicle, transporting stolen goods, under the influence.
    • Drive to the nearest Police Station or when in doubt, the nearest busy public area.
  • Always have your identity document and driver’s license in your possession as well as a pen and notebook to take necessary notes.
  • If possible, avoid driving in the dark.  Hijackers may stage a minor accident, for e.g. If your vehicle is bumped from behind and you do not feel comfortable with the individual involved in the situation, indicate he / she must follow you and drive to the nearest Police Station or any busy public area for help.
  • Never open your vehicle window or door for any stranger.  If a suspicious person is near your unoccupied vehicle, do not approach the vehicle.  Walk to the nearest public area and ask for assistance.
  • If you encounter obstacles in the road, e.g. rocks, tyres, do not get out of your vehicle to remove them.  Reverse and drive away in the opposite direction.
  • Do not stop to eat or rest on deserted roads.
  • Do not leave your vehicle unattended at a filling station.
  • Cell phones should be carried on the body.  Perpetrators will not allow you to remove your cell phone and valuables from the vehicle during an attack.
Information you should know:
If your vehicle is hijacked or stolen, promptly report it to the SAPS.  Make sure you have the vehicle details:  model, color, vehicle identification and registration numbers available to assist with the recovery of the vehicle.
When forced to drive with a hijacker, be observant without making direct eye contact and try to memorise as many details as possible.  
It is important to describe the hijacker as accurately as possible.  When observing a hijacker, take note of his head and face – the shape of the eyes, mouth, nose and ears.  Take note of possible irregularities.  Look at the hair, skin color, complexion and possible scars and tattoos.  Observe the build, sex, body movement, clothing and any conversation that may take place.
  • Remember the direction from which they came and fled, as well as the time and place the incident happened.
  • Remember to make mental and physical notes immediately after the incident to ensure accurate and detailed information for the Police investigation.
Taken hostage - It can be helpful to have a survival plan in the back of your mind should such an incident occur.  It is difficult not to become paranoid about being taken hostage.  However, it is just as easy to become complacent.
One very important fact to remember when being hijacked:
Should the conclusion of the drama be by way of armed intervention, and escape is not possible, immediately drop to the ground, remain still and obey the orders of the leader.
If confronted:
  • Do not lose your temper, threaten or challenge the hijacker.  
  • Do not resist, especially if the hijacker has a weapon.  Surrender your vehicle and move away.  Try to put as much distance between yourself and the hijacker(s) as speedily as possible.
  • Do not reach for your purse or valuables.  Leave everything in the vehicle.
  • Try to remain calm at all times and do not show signs of aggression.
  • Be compliant to all demands set by the perpetrator.
  • Do not make eye contact with the hijacker.  He may perceive this behavior as a threat and retaliate aggressively.
  • Keep your hands still and visible to the hijacker, so as to give him assurance of your passive content.
  • Do not speak too fast (if you are able to talk) and do not make sudden movements.
  • Gather as much information as possible without posing a threat.
    • How many people?
    • How many firearms and description thereof?
    • What were the perpetrators wearing (clothing)?
    • To which direction did they drive off?
    • Take note of the language they use (the accent).
  • First phone the SA Police Service on 08600 10111.  They will dispatch the medical services if needed.  Other emergency numbers you could phone are 112 ANY Network (Vodacom+MTN+Cell C) or 147 Vodacom ONLY.
  • Activate the vehicle-tracking device, if the vehicle is fitted with one.
The Effects of Trauma:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
This is the term given to a particular range and combination of reactions following trauma.  Reactions following trauma can be divided into three main groups:
  • Re-experiencing the event – a feeling that you are experiencing the original event all over again, through memories intruding into your waking or sleeping life.
  • Arousal reactions – you feel persistently aroused, nervous, agitated sense, anxious, tense, unable to settle or concentrate, over-reacting very sharply to small things and especially, having trouble sleeping.
  • Avoidance reactions – you make frantic efforts to avoid anything that could remind you of the trauma, or cause you to think or talk about it in any way.  You may shut down your feelings about other people and things you normally care about and keep to yourself.  You may feel unusually withdrawn and emotionally numb.
Five stages of trauma / loss:
  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance
The following is some general advice to help you cope with trauma in general and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in particular:
  • Express your emotions.
  • Talk about what has happened as often as you need to.  Seek trauma counselling.
  • Try to keep your life as normal as possible by following daily routines.
  • Find opportunities to review the experience.
  • Look to friends and colleagues for support.
  • Use alcohol, nicotine or other drugs to hide your feelings.
  • Simply stay away from work or isolate yourself.  Seek help and support instead (counselling).
  • Allow anger and irritability to mask your feelings.
  • Hide your feelings and be afraid to ask for help.
  • Think your feelings are a sign of weakness.
Remember that your life is worth more than your vehicle!



The following safety hints are aimed at providing a potential hostage or hijacking victim with practical advice and enhance road safety. It is important to note that most hostages, victims of hijacking survive the incident and are eventually released or rescued. In most instances, injuries and deaths are the result of inconsiderate actions taken by the victims themselves. There are certain guidelines that could increase a victim’s chances of survival and decrease the risk of humiliation, discomfort and injury:


  • People who are taken hostage or hijacked, tend to experience feelings of anxiety, shock, disbelief and confusion.
  • This first reaction usually leads to resistance, or retaliation which could have fatal consequences.
  • Prepare yourself to be alone and isolated from your family, friends or loved ones, and to lose track of time and place.


  • They could be tense, anxious and nervous.
  • They could display a tendency to overreact.


  • Do everything the perpetrators tell you to do.
  • Try at all times to maintain your pride, dignity and self-respect.
  • Keep your brain active by playing games in your mind (mind games), daydreaming and reading whatever you are offered.
  • To maintain your physical strength you should eat the food provided by your captor(s).
  • Try to maintain a sense of humor, but do not ridicule the aggressors.
  • Try to remain orientated regarding your movements, directions, time and place.
  • Try to maintain a routine and remain fit, if circumstances permit.
  • Allow yourself to be led by your captor(s).
  • Try to remain cool and calm.
  • Fall flat and remain down during the relieving attack


  • Do not at any time become panic stricken or hysterical.
  • Do not offer any form of resistance.
  • Do not become abusive and aggressive or lose your temper.
  • Do not threaten or provoke the captor(s).
  • Do not try to be a hero.
  • Do not engage in an argument with the captor(s).
  • Do not engage in any whispered conversations with the perpetrators.
  • Do not use foreign concepts or languages, as this could arouse the captors’ suspicions.
  • Do not make any demands.
  • Do not be sympathetic towards your captors’ cause.
  • Do not try to escape, as this could place you at risk.

These safety hints are published by the South African Police Service, Division: Crime Prevention, in support of actions taken by hostage negotiators in the best interest of the community.


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