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A tainted image of South Africa

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The sooner the government intervenes, the better for South Africans

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THE arrest of four South African women for allegedly being part of a syndicate smuggling drugs between Jamaica and Miami in the US, is a major blow for many young South Africans wishing to get work experience in foreign countries.

It emerged yesterday that four women, three from Durban and one from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape, employed as crew for MSC Cruises, were nabbed for allegedly smuggling cocaine into the US on November 17.

Since the bust, many South Africans working in luxury cruises around the world have reportedly been subjected to harassment and scrutiny by the law enforcement officials in their host countries. There are even rumours that MSC Cruises have placed a moratorium on the employment of South Africans.

While the suspects have to be presumed innocent until proven guilty, it is clear the negative actions of a few have tainted the image of South African employees worldwide.

With the high rate of unemployment among the youth, such overseas employment opportunities have helped to alleviate joblessness in this segment of the population.

We hope that the cruise companies will resist the temptation of painting all South Africans with the same brush because of the greed of a few individuals.

With the number of South Africans getting incarcerated for drug smuggling in foreign countries increasing daily, the government needs to step in to reverse this disturbing trend.

It is clear that several young people, facing serious socio-economic challenges at home, are being drawn into the murky world of drug dealing.

The sooner the government intervenes, the better for South Africans – who are now viewed with suspicion when travelling or working abroad.