Cape Town - Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) has issued a stern warning to the public after the Palestinian flag was spray-painted on rocks at the Lion’s Head summit this week.
The discovery made by hikers on Thursday set tongues wagging on social media as photographs showing the graffiti went viral.
While some social media users showed support for Gaza, others slammed the actions, saying the perpetrators defaced the summit.
In a Facebook post, TMNP, called on park visitors to refrain from creating graffiti imagery within the park, as rangers and conservation staff removed graffiti from two beacons on top of the Lions Head Summit.
“This behaviour violates the Environmental Management Act in Protected Areas. Please be aware that graffiti is strictly prohibited in all National Parks, and individuals caught doing so will face fines.”
SANParks spokesperson, Lauren Clayton, says they were informed about the incident at midday on Thursday.
“Rangers responded as soon as possible and removed the graffiti as it is illegal to apply graffiti to any natural object or man-made structure in a national park. An environmentally friendly graffiti remover, brushes, and water were used to remove graffiti from rocks. The beacons on the top of Lion’s Head were painted with white paint.”
She explains that graffiti in a national park is not only illegal, but also affects the experience of other visitors and park users, who want to enjoy the natural heritage as well as special cultural heritage places in the park.
“Defacing, painting, writing on, cutting names or letters in or otherwise making marks or affixing bills on trees, rocks, gates, fences, buildings, signs or other property or in any manner spoiling features, buildings and facilities, you will be fined up to R2 500 as per the National Environmental Management: Protected Area Acts regulations. Repeat offences may result in arrest.”
Shaykh Sayed Ridhwaan of the Cape Town Ulama Board says they don’t support the vandalism but call on Capetonians not to be selective.
“As the Cape Town Ulama Board, we do not support the act of vandalism on Lions Head, as it defaces public property and promotes a culture of lawlessness.
“We advise the community to express their views through peaceful and constructive means rather than resorting to illegal activities. However, it is crucial to address other ongoing illegal graffiti that has been present on Lions Head for years.
“Selective outrage about Palestine only undermines the principle of equality and fairness. The ‘outraged individuals’ should continue to be ‘outraged’ when it’s other graffiti as well.”
In a Facebook post, the Friends of Lion’s Head also slammed the graffiti, saying: “The natural park is for ALL! Please express your passions in legal ways in urban areas, not in nature”.