Table Mountain safety team ready for festive season

2012-11-30 15:07

With a full squad of 60 visitor safety rangers and 11 visitor safety dogs, Table Mountain National Park is ready and prepared for the peak festive season.

The park yesterday congratulated 30 Visitor Safety Rangers in an official passing out parade at the foot of Table Mountain.

According to a SANParks press release the decision to expand the Visitor Safety team took place in 2011 after careful consideration of the seriousness of the crime situation within the park.

"To increase the size of the team, ensuring that they are all permanently appointed, and to provide the required training and equipment to develop a team that is dedicated and prepared to improve safety of park users, required an increase in the budget allocated to visitor safety from R3.8 million to R6.8 million per annum. The initial seed funding was secured from the Presidents Job Fund and later included in our operational budgets" said SANParks CEO, Dr David Mabunda. 

Manager for Table Mountain National Park, Paddy Gordon, said he was pleased that the investment was into visible policing and not into high tech equipment. "The success of the Visitor Safety Team over the last few years led to the decision to expand the uniformed presence on the mountain. This will send a strong message to all visitors that we continue to take their safety very seriously, and use the most efficient means to make sure that crime is not tolerated on the mountain" he said.

An integral part of the Visitor Safety team is its 11-strong dog unit, a result of a community-sponsorship campaign run by the Table Mountain National Park Honorary Rangers last year. The dogs are trained to level 4 of search and retrieve. Park management is hoping to extend the unit to the southern sections of the park. 

Together with TMNP's working partner in visitor safety, the SAPS, crime on the mountain chain has now decreased to about half the number of incidents at this time last year. Throughout winter, the team has been busy clearing old military bunkers, caves and hideouts, taking loiterers to SAPS for fingerprinting. Frequently, individuals were detained as they were wanted for crimes committed elsewhere in the City and the country. This has proven highly effective in reducing contact crime on the mountain. "We would like to warn those blood suckers that our tourists and users of the mountain are off-limits to their nefarious activities" said Dr Mabunda.

 

Read more on:    travel south africa
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