While safety at Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has had a boost with the addition of 40 tourism monitors on the ground, hikers continue to be mugged while using some trails.
Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi said Claremont police registered a case of robbery “with something other than a firearm” after two people were mugged at Newlands Forest last Friday.
“According to reports from the complainant, she was walking with a friend in Newlands Forest on December 22 at around 7.35am. An unknown man, armed with a knife, approached and grabbed her necklace and demanded her mobile device. The suspect fled the scene and is yet to be arrested,” said Swartbooi.
Another social media user detailed an alleged robbery at about 12.30pm on Wednesday, also in Newlands.
“My partner and I were walking down from Devil’s Peak to take the contour path to the blockhouse and back to Newlands Forest.
“When a black male was walking toward us, he looked like a hiker. He had a black hiking bandana on his head, a navy blue shirt, long black pants, maroon hiking shoes and a black backpack.
“He walked past me and then I heard my girlfriend scream. When I turnaround he had pulled a knife out and pointed it at her.
He demanded our cellphones (only my girlfriend had hers) and our Apple watches and sunglasses.
“He also asked for the passwords and he took my girlfriend’s necklace.
We were unharmed but very traumatised.”
The incidents come a few days after Tourism Minister Patricia de Lille welcomed the deployment of 40 tourism monitors for TMNP.
“The department has set R174.5 million from this year’s budget to deploy around 2 300 Tourism Monitors at key tourist attractions. This gives expression through our multi-agency collaborative efforts to ensure the safety of our visitors and safeguard the reputation of our destination.
“Out of the 350 monitors deployed to SANparks, 70 were allocated to TMNP in the Western Cape of which 40 are being deployed today. The balance will be deployed in the new year.
Our national parks are key tourism attractions and remain top-of-list for our key source markets,” said De Lille.
TMNP manager Megan Taplin outlined their festive season safety and security plans for the park two weeks ago.
“We have to remember that whatever is happening in the park is a symptom of what is happening in the urban areas,” Taplin said.
“Despite the challenges since the start of the festive season campaign, there have been more than six arrests of multiple suspects through joint operations.
“SANParks has 112 rangers in its employ in TMNP, of which 15 of are members of the special operations rangers division otherwise known as the Sea, Air and Mountain team.
“These are highly skilled rangers with a K9 unit of six fully trained dogs and a specialised operations centre which supports the area integrity management of TMNP.
“The rangers in TMNP recorded 36 successful apprehensions since their deployment,” Taplin said.
Anyone who witnessed the incidents above or others can anonymously contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.