File picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Table Mountain Watch hoping to see cameras, drones before next tourist season

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Aug 13, 2019

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Cape Town – New safety initiatives at several tourist attractions, including Table Mountain National Park (TMNP), have been welcomed.

Police Minister Bheki Cele said yesterday law enforcement was working closely with the tourism department to ensure safety in public spaces.

Speaking about crime and the army deployment on the Cape Flats, Cele welcomed all arrests made after attacks on tourists and locals in public spaces.

In the latest incident, a 43-year-old Ukrainian tourist, Ivan Ivanov, was stabbed to death while hiking on Chapman’s Peak last month.

According to monitoring group Table Mountain Watch (TMW), at least 14 incidents involving 23 victims were reported to them this year. SANParks could not confirm these figures.

The organisation said security measures included the placement of 60 monitors in the SANParks Table Mountain National Park. He said the remainder would be placed in October.

To assist the monitors on the ground, cameras, drones and a tourism safety app would be installed and would be operational by December.

SANParks spokesperson Lauren Clayton said the monitors would be based in hot spots.

“The Cape region is appointing 120 tourism monitors, which will be deployed in different functional areas, of which safety is one of the priorities. 

"This programme, funded by the National Department of Tourism, is a great opportunity to prepare young men and women to grow within the organisation.

“There are recognisable hot spot areas within Table Mountain National Park which are being closely monitored by a joint operation between Table Mountain National Park, the South African Police Service and neighbourhood watch groups,” said Clayton.

Chief executive of Southern African Tourism Services Association David Frost said it was essential that plans, initiatives and strategies announced were implemented swiftly.

“We are looking forward to the strategy being rolled out in earnest and communicated widely to tourists and travel industry stakeholders locally and internationally so we can assure them that the safety of our tourists is of utmost importance,” Frost said.

TMW spokesperson André van Schalkwyk said cameras and drones were promised as far back as 2015.

“We are keen to see the solution and to understand time frames. We have our own systems and solutions which we are developing, so perhaps these could overlap or integrate. 

"As such, we hope these are sincere developments and that we will see evidence before the next tourist season.”

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