File photo: Fotalia
File photo: Fotalia

Hiker deaths not our responsibility, says MEC

By Lonwabo Marele Time of article published Jan 30, 2018

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Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato has washed the province’s hands off responsibility for the murder of a hiker in the mountains above Kalk Bay at the weekend.

Plato said: “Combating of any crime remains the constitutional prerogative of the South African Police Service (SAPS).

“I urge the SAPS, SANParks and all law enforcement entities to work closely together with the various mountain communities to see that those responsible are apprehended, as well as to help ensure the safety of those making use of our natural surrounds.”

The 56-year-old hiker, Doug Notten, was stabbed to death at St James Peak in the Silvermine area of the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) on Sunday.

In the last three weeks, over nine incidents related to hikers being attacked took place at St James Peak.

Mountain hiker Justin Hawthorne said the lack of visible patrols, especially foot patrols, was a major concern.

“As a mountain user in the form of recreational hiking and professional mountain guiding, I average four days per week hiking the numerous Cape Peninsula trails. Come winter or summer, rain or shine, I’m out there - and, sadly, visible patrols were virtually non-existent on the mountain during 2017. If the SAPS is meant to be patrolling within TMNP, there is a serious lack of visibility here, too,” said Hawthorne.

“I strongly discourage the abuse of TMNP rules to spite SANParks. The natural environment needs protection, so a rethink of this approach is recommended to all those TMNP users who blatantly disobey TMNP rules, and disobey TMNP rangers who do attempt to enforce these rules,” he said.

Meridian Hiking Club spokesperson Freddy Mohorich said they have had numerous meetings with hiking clubs, SANParks and the City, where they were told that drone sites would be installed.

Regular hiker and Mr South Africa 2017 Habib Noorbhai said: “As a contingency, transparent entries (including physical searches and identities) should be adopted to avoid further incidences and acts of violence."

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