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Pretoria, crime and public transport

by Bill

Hi, I am an Australian who is currently living in Ireland. A potential work offer has been sent my way, and it involves 2 years in Pretoria working with a government department.

Some of the expat websites are very off-putting about crime, general security and the inability of expats to use public transport, etc. Is there more information available that may help me make my decision? My preference would be to live close to the city and use public transport or bike to get around. I will be on my own so I only require a one bedroom apartment.

Any guidance you can provide would be very gratefully received.

best regards,

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Living in Pretoria
by: Mbini (ed)

Hi Bill
I will try to be as objective as possible about Pretoria even though it is so close to my heart.

Crime is a problem in South Africa but not to the extent that it is publicised. I would say, try to get an opinion of a non-South African who lives here and has lived for a long time. South Africans are a lot more negative, and that is mostly politically driven. Please don’t get me wrong, crime exists but everyone who lives in SA or anywhere for that matter has to be alert, not walk outdoors alone at night, etc. Pretoria is a bit quiet compared to some parts of South Africa, like Johannesburg.

The public transport is another issue. Forget about the bicycle altogether. The use of a bicycle as a means of transport is a bit foreign here. Our public transport is not as great too. We have the minibus taxis, which are not usually reliable nor in a good condition. An average working professional in Pretoria owns a car. The peak hour traffic doesn’t help but we have learnt to live with that, I guess. I lived in two suburbs and used a municipal bus at some stage in my life too, but there are a few areas with such a luxury.

Living close to the city could also be another problem. There are not many security villages (gated communities) close to the city. The suburbs that have security are a bit further away from the city. That’s one of the reason families have their own cars.

My advice would be that you try and get a foreigner who lives here. I have seen a few blogs on the internet. Most are not always positive, which will also help you take your decision. I also get quite a few who contact me to find ways to extend their stay. I think at the end you will be able to know what you are comfortable with.

All the best with your decision. Its not an easy one but hey, all great decisions aren't.

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