File picture: Armand Hough /African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Only one of four Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) tented camp sites is left operational after the Slangkop Tented Camp in Kommetjie was closed yesterday due to crime.

The campsite will stay closed until the end of February “to investigate if additional crime mitigation measures would improve the security on site”, TMNP said.

The Slangkop Tented Camp is almost on the ocean at the edge of Kommetjie.

“We’ve experienced a number of crime incidents in the camp in recent months and have decided we can no longer offer guests a secure environment to overnight. 

"We’ll be temporarily closing Slangkop Tented Camp to investigate additional crime mitigation measures,” TMNP said.

TMNP spokesperson Lauren Clayton said the Smitswinkel Tented Camp was the only campsite that remained operational.

“Silvermine Tented Camp was closed after it burned down during 2015, and the Orange Kloof Tented Camp still remains closed due to crime incidents. 

"Slangkop is now the third tented camp that has been affected by temporary closure,” Clayton said.

Guests who have booked have been notified.

On the safety of Smitswinkel, Clayton said: “No incidents were reported,” and it remained open for overnight accommodation.

Ocean View Community Policing Forum spokesperson Kathy Cronje said crime in the area had been “very hectic”.

“SANParks having to close down its tented camps to ensure the safety of visitors doesn’t surprise me. 

"This is not good for tourism, neither is it good news for locals and hikers in the area. Something has to be done about the crime in the area, which is gang-related,” said Cronje.

Take Back Our Mountains chairperson Taahir Osman said Slangkop had been a crime hot spot for many years, with robbery the most common crime.

“We’re hoping for extra patrols in those areas and encourage visitors to walk in larger groups or join our monthly initiatives, where we hike in larger groups.

“It’s a pity that crime has spilled over from the city to our mountains. There’s the wrong impression that SANParks is responsible for safety and security when they are there for protecting our biodiversity,” said Osman.

Cape Times