I have been offered an IT consulting job in Cape Town and wanted to ask some questions as my wife has concerns about the safety there. We would be moving from the USA.

The first question is about that the electric fences that surround apartment complexes there. What happens if there is ever a blackout in the neighborhood? Do the complexes have power generators that kick in in those situations?

What is the policy and prevailing culture about individual gun ownership? Is it relatively common for residents to carry a gun, like in some parts of USA?


2 Answers 2


hope this isn't too late. Will post for future reference.

Cape Town and even South Africa isn't as bad as some people imagine it to be. Just don't be foolish!

Leave your romanticised ideas about Africa and the natives at home!!

Stay away from townships and other dodgy areas. Be sensible, don't drive dangerous routes alone or at night. Don't leave house doors open or unlocked. Don't leave items lying in cars. Most of the crime people like you will experience in Cape Town will be petty crime like theft.

Power outs or load shedding as it is known locally is usually done according to a schedule so planning can be made in advance. Whether the complex has power generators is something that can only be confirmed by the individual complex. Usually they don't, but the fencing can run on a battery for a limited time. Don't be fooled into a false sense of security by electrical fencing though, criminals can easily by pass these in any event.

South Africa has an active gun culture, although government is trying very hard to make life as hard as possible for law abiding gun owners while criminals run rampant with automatic weapons. Everyone wonders what the governments agendas is. Many people do every day carry, although the firearm should always be concealed!! If you don't conceal your firearm you run a very high risk of becoming another statistic. You will have to comply with South African laws regarding citizenship/residency before a licence can be obtained, a painful process in itself.

All in all Cape Town is a great place, so is South Africa despite the political turmoil its going through. As long as you are sensible you should be more than fine!


I have lived in South-Africa (Johannesburg) for 2 years and nothing really happened. Just be smart about it: Don't go to townships unaccompanied, don't flaunt that you have a lot of money and so on. For women it might be a bit different. But me as a man was able to walk to the gas-station at night (anywhere between 10pm - 3am) to get some cigarettes and not be scared that anything will happen. I too am into IT and am not too bulky, but if you carry yourself with confidence it will be all right. At the job I had I heard a few people got mugged and beat up, but these were also people who were scared of everything. JUST DONT TRUST ANYONE (EVEN COPS, since they are corrupt and try to get a littlebit of extra money however they can)! The worst thing that happened to me was that I got mugged at gunpoint while being out and about at a uncommon time (2am on a Tuesday) with my girlfriend, this is actually the only thing that ever happened. But nothing really happened, just give the little money you got on you (don't carry 100's of Rands with you, almost everywhere you can pay with card) and they will leave you alone. DO NOT FIGHT THEM, THEY ARE NOT AFRAID OF KILLING/STABBING YOU (sorry to say: Especially if you're white like I am)

  • "2 years and nothing really happened" + "I got mugged at gunpoint" = ??? Apr 1, 2017 at 11:56

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