Table Mountain patrols stepped up
Cape Town - Extra security measures are being put in place following a spate of muggings on Table Mountain, Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato announced on Friday.
"Following my meeting yesterday [Thursday] with law enforcement, SANParks and the chairperson of the Table Mountain Forum [TMF], I am satisfied that all parties are committed to leaving no stone unturned to increase safety on Table Mountain," he said in a statement.
With 25 new field rangers reporting for duty with Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) on Friday, South Africa National Parks (SANParks) had stepped up patrols in areas identified as crime hotspots on the mountain chain, he said.
Four more rangers would also take up their posts shortly with more expected to be employed as from August following a stringent interview process and fitness assessment.
With the assistance of the SA Police Service and Metro Police, the mountain chain, stretching from Signal Hill to Constantia Neck, was being patrolled 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Many problems remained, not the least of which was the fact that the area referred to as "the mountain" stretched over a vast 6 500ha .
All efforts should therefore be focused on strategic planning and strong partnerships to boost resources, Plato said.
He said that the safety partners on the forum played a crucial role in being "additional eyes and ears" on the ground to assist law enforcement agencies.
The safety partners were civil society organisations and included Greenpoint and Oranjekloof City Improvement District, Pedal Power, Tamboerskloof Neighbourhood Watch, Table Mountain Safety Action Group, Mountain Club of South Africa, and the Paragliding Association.
"I've also received a variety of proposals from private individuals and companies relating to concepts and the use of specialised technology to make our mountain safer and will be meeting with them in due course to assess the feasibility of these proposals," said Plato.
"I believe that this government's 'whole of society approach' is the only way to make our mountain safer and because safety is everyone's responsibility I urge the public to also do their bit to aid our efforts."
Mountain users were encouraged to take heed of safety advice, not only in terms of crime, but also to avoid other incidents like injuries and getting lost.
Between January and now, TMNP rangers and Metro Search and Rescue had aided in 41 rescues with many incidents taking place due to people underestimating the mountain and neglecting to properly plan routes and/or be properly equipped for activities.
"Our efforts, through the TMF to increase safety on the mountain chain, are working."
Altogether 30 people had been apprehended on the mountain this year by TMNP rangers and were handed over to SAPS.
"While there are never guarantees that crime will not happen, we will continue to increase the forum's effectiveness to prevent incidents from happening and actions to address them swiftly when they do," Plato said.