Fedhasa calls for zero tolerance of crimeMarch 31st, 2010 by H&R | Categories: government, hotels, industry, legal, restaurants, tourism, training
The Minister of Justice has been asked by the hospitality industry to adopt a “zero tolerance” approach towards crime in the wake of concern over a magistrate’s decision to grant bail of R1 500 each to two cleaners suspected of stealing nearly R300 000 from a hotel room.
Phillip Couvaras, one of South Africa’s most senior and respected hoteliers, has told Jeff Radebe in a letter sent today: “The hospitality industry is a critical area where zero tolerance needs to be applied: our industry and the police need to be backed up by the judicial system.
Writing in his capacity as chairperson of Fedhasa Cape, he said:
“I am writing to request your urgent assistance in communicating to magistrates that the hospitality industry would like a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach adopted towards crime, especially in the face of the looming 2010 Fifa World Cup.
“The hospitality industry is a critical area where zero tolerance needs to be applied: our industry and the police need to be backed up by the judicial system.
“One recent example that is cause for concern is where R296 000 was allegedly stolen from an international guest’s 5-star hotel room. The police had responded quickly to the report of theft, conducted a diligent investigation and then promptly arrested two hotel room cleaners.
“The accused then provided false addresses to the police. Later police were supplied with their correct addresses and this was followed by the court allowing such individuals bail of R1 500 each.
“I must stress that I have the highest admiration for our police service. I have been at police stations on numerous occasions to report an incident, while simultaneously witnessing the enormous demands placed on our police.
“The hospitality industry needs the police’s prompt assistance and in every incident that I have called for their assistance in my capacity as General Manager of a top Cape Town hotel, they have arrived within the hour.
“The hospitality industry (hotels and restaurants) work together by adopting a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach through quickly sharing information amongst its member hotels, but we cannot fight this battle alone. The police are to be commended on their support of the hotel and tourism industry, including in the above incident.
“However, although Fedhasa Cape is not privy to the information placed before the court, the association finds it regrettable that based on what was reported in the media, there has been an extremely lenient bail granted. In order for a prosecution to be successful, the victim, an international guest, has to lay the charge so this release on bail has been perceived as not supporting the cause of justice and not protecting our international guests.
“It frankly flies directly in the face of all the training and efforts hoteliers and restaurateurs go to in communicating to their staff not to steal anything from a patron.
“As the hospitality industry body, and all the more so in the face of our country set to be the shop window to a great many visitors during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, we are wholly dependent on the efficient and competent handling of not only bigger crimes like this, but equally so lesser crimes.
“There are professional syndicated operations in Cape Town and we all have to work together to disrupt their operations of criminal activity.”