Tourism, safety MECs to meet over Table Mountain attacks

2015-07-21 17:46

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Police didn't know where Lion's Head was - mugging victim

2015-07-21 14:49

Two muggers brazenly mugged people while running down Lion’s Head in broad daylight. One of their victims claims that police did not know where the tourist attraction was when they phoned 10111.WATCH

Cape Town - Western Cape Tourism MEC Alan Winde is set to meet with his community safety counterpart this week following a spate of attacks in Table Mountain National Park.

“The meeting will go ahead this Friday and from there they will engage with various stakeholders,” spokesperson Bronwynne Jooste said on Tuesday.

“One of the issues he and [provincial] Minister Dan Plato will be looking at is re-energising the Table Mountain Safety Forum.”

Jooste did not elaborate on what else would be discussed.

According to the SA National Parks (SANParks) website, the forum was established a few years ago after a spate of attacks on mountain users.

The forum included representatives from SANParks, the community safety department, SA Police Service and civil society formations.

In the latest set of incidents, a group of students were robbed of their belongings at knifepoint on Lion’s Head a week ago.

On Sunday, two men with a knife ran down one of the Lion’s Head trails and robbed various groups of tourists of their backpacks and other items.

One of their victims, Stellenbosch University Phd student and researcher Asmus Zoch claimed on Tuesday that it took 25 minutes to get through to police on their toll free line and that the person who assisted them did not know where Lion’s Head was.

He went along with other tourists to Cape Town central police station later on Sunday, where three cases were opened.

“The alleged behaviour by our members will not be tolerated and we will take appropriate action if the allegations can be substantiated,” police spokesperson FC van Wyk said on Tuesday.

He said officers were bound by a code of conduct. He encouraged Zoch to lodge a complaint with the station commander, SA Police Service management or Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

According to internal statistics, contact crime in Table Mountain National Park has dropped by half in the last five years.

'As soon as we secure one area, they move to another'

There were 31 incidents in 2010/11 and 15 incidents between April 2014 and March 2015, park spokesperson Merle Collins said on Tuesday.

“We have a lot more rescues and missing people than armed robberies.”

She warned the statistics were subject to confirmation from the SA Police Service.

Van Wyk said a national moratorium prevented them from issuing crime statistics because the police minister issued stats once a quarter.

Previously released statistics showed an increase at Cape Town central station in cases of common robbery and robbery with aggravating circumstances between 2010 and 2015.

Collins said the park had a dedicated visitor safety team, made up of rangers and sniffer dogs, but it was impossible to be everywhere at once.

“We can’t say whether there are hot spots. Crime displaces and as soon as we secure one area, they move to another.”

She said they tried building up profiles based on where people were attacked and what happened, so they could increase patrols where necessary.

Read more on:    police  |  sanparks  |  cape town  |  crime

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