In response to escalating security concerns, Google has announced that its navigation apps, Waze and Google Maps, will no longer guide users through Cape Town’s Nyanga township and adjacent areas. The decision comes in the wake of a recent incident where a US tourist was robbed and shot in the face while following the app’s suggested route.
Alistair Mokoena, Google’s South Africa head, confirmed the strategic adjustment on Monday. The victim’s route, directed by the navigation app as the quickest path from Cape Town International Airport to the city, led him through the Nyanga township, a region now deemed unsafe for navigation.
This incident follows the tragic shooting of British surgeon Kar Hao Teoh, 40, during a protest by taxi operators in Nyanga last September. Reports suggest that numerous individuals, predominantly tourists, have faced attacks or fatal outcomes while traversing Nyanga, often following the guidance of navigation apps. In response to these safety concerns, the UK government has issued a cautionary advisory to its citizens visiting South Africa.
The advisory warns against relying solely on GPS navigation and advises against taking alternative routes away from main roads, particularly through areas deemed less secure, where incidents of violent crimes are more prevalent. This adjustment by Google reflects a proactive approach to user safety, addressing the growing challenges associated with navigating potentially perilous routes.