Cape Town - A newly-established established initiative aimed at keeping visitors to the Table Mountain National Park has just received a R4 million boost from the provincial government.
The announcement made by MEC Finance and Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger, comes amid a collaboration between provincial government, the City of Cape Town, SANParks and other entities.
Speaking during an oversight visit yesterday, Mayco member for Safety and Security, JP Smith explained the issues with the safety of hikers and visitors to the mountain were raised in August last year.
He said in October they recorded 36 incidents which included robberies and chain-snatching of mountain users on the mountain and in the CBD.
“We came together to start the Table Mountain Safety Forum which includes various stakeholders but also saw additional law-enforcement officers to the mountain to curb crime. We reinstated cameras and made use of the new students who had come out of college.”
He said while the students now have to be redeployed to other CBDs across the city, they had made a great impact with the last incident more than two weeks ago.
“We have also found that with the arrests of the main people perpetrating the crimes we found that there were less attacks while they were in custody.” Wenger said the additional R4m funding would go towards extending the project over the next 18 months.
She said the perception of safety plays a role when international visitors pick a destination to visit.
She explained the funding will be used to extend the hours of those patrolling the mountain to ensure that hikers who visit the various attractions at sunrise or sunset can feel safe.
“The R4m funding will be for the next 18 months to extend the service so that locals and visitors can visit a natural wonder of the world and feel safe. It will be used to extend the hours of the officers to ensure that hikers who wish to visit the mountain for sunset or sunrise hikes are protected. It is important to note that the more tourists we have the more jobs are created.”
Smith said in a meeting with the US Consulate General they were told that not a single tourist reported any such crime or having needed to replace their stolen passport documents over this festive season.
“We are, however, still seeing incidents of street robberies and chain-snatching, or where tourists have their phones snatched from their hand while walking on the streets within the CBD. With our successful collaboration with the CID, two suspects were arrested in this regard, both in separate incidents, when alert CID officers were able to chase down and apprehend the thieves.”