Cape Town – In what can only be described as a James Bond 007-like rescue operation, the Mother City Premier Helen Zille and her journalist accomplice saved two German tourists, Mr Lee and Mrs Kim, from sleeping on the streets of Cape Town.
The rescue mission started off with Netwerk24 reporter, Marelize Barnard, offering to assist the two lost German tourists in a supermarket in Buitengracht street after dark on Friday 22 May. The tourists were not only completely lost in translation – since they did not speak a word of English – but also completely lost, geographically speaking.
They had forgotten the name and location of their hotel and held only a room access card with the number ‘504’ on it.
After attempting to find their mystery hotel by driving to various popular hotels in the vicinity, Barnard decided to call for backup.
Barnard, who speaks no German, frantically scrolled through her contact list on her cellphone in search of someone with at least some comprehension of the German language. The search seemed futile, but then, Helen Zille’s name appeared…
At first the Premier was unable to answer the call Barnard made, but she sent a SMS saying she was in a meeting. Barnard replied, describing the dilemma and the need for the Premier’s fluency in German.
At this stage, Helen Zille put her meeting on hold to speak to Mrs Kim on Banard’s cellphone to try and determine where they were staying. Unable to figure it out, however, the Premier asked Barnard to stay with the German tourists a while longer while she sent one of her personal bodyguards – Japie – to their location. About 15-minutes later, Japie heroically arrived with the Premier’s official government vehicle and escorted Mr Lee and Mrs Kim on a search mission for their hotel.
Barnard later received a SMS from the Premier saying, “Thank you for caring so much for people whom you don’t even know. They are now at their hotel.”