Table Mountain National Park: Concern over a spate of muggings and car breaks-ins
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Cape Town - The Table Mountain National Park watch groups have warned of a surge in muggings and car break-ins as the festive season draws near.
The groups say areas where these incidents recently occurred include Tafelberg Road, Cecilia Forest, Constantia Nek and Scarborough.
Hot spots include Tafelberg Road along with Kloofnek Corner, where a group of hikers were robbed of their personal belongings and their car.
The groups pleaded with mountain users to leave valuables at home, be vigilant and ensure that reports of all criminal activities were made for authorities to act.
Andre van Schalkwyk of Table Mountain Watch said crime in the park has long been seasonal and that there was likely a seasonal uptick caused by an influx of tourism. However, he said despite this there was no formal safety plan from SanParks. Van Schalkwyk said park users were not happy.
“We tried for years to get SANParks to reinvigorate the park forum and earlier this year we thought we’d finally made great strides when it was announced. However, since then we have no idea of their mandate, objectives or plans.
“As a forum that’s meant to be transparent, inclusive and open, this is disappointing. Park users need to be vigilant out there as there is very little in the way of proactive crime prevention,” he said.
Parkscape chairperson Nicky Schmidt said they also had no insight as to what the safety and partnerships subcommittee of the park forum was addressing with SANParks.
She said they had been made aware that the R2bn mission area joint operations centre was no longer on the table and that a much smaller joint operations centre was under consideration. However, she said details of these were scant.
“We are painfully aware that SANParks has been hard hit by the impact of the pandemic on international tourism and that TMNP has been severely affected. To this end, we are mindful that resources are limited. We are given to understand that some initiatives are being undertaken but again, details and information are scant.
“It seems likely that in order to get a decent safety and security initiative off the ground, substantial private funding and multiple public-private partnerships, along with partnerships with other authorities and service providers, along with extensive use of technology, will be required,” said Schmidt.
The Friends of Table Mountain founder Andy Davies said SANParks has been dithering for too long.
SANParks spokesperson Lauren Clayton said they have been proactive in conducting daily patrols to prevent crime related incidents and only had less than 20 incidents from January to-date. Clayton said joint operations with police, City Law Enforcement and other stakeholders were conducted to ensure visitors’ safety.
“We encourage visitors to take note of our visitor safety information guide before visiting the park,” she said.