Ukrainian hiker: Over 8 000 sign petition as spotlight turns to safety on Table Mountain

2019-07-30 17:29
Ukrainaian tourist Ivan Ivanov was stabbed to death on Chapman's Peak. (Facebook)

Ukrainaian tourist Ivan Ivanov was stabbed to death on Chapman's Peak. (Facebook)

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More than 8 000 people have signed a petition asking the court to deny bail to a man who was out on parole at the time he allegedly stabbed Ukrainian hiker Ivan Ivanov to death at East Fort above Chapman's Peak Drive.

This drive comes as many are questioning what is being done to keep people safe in Table Mountain National Park (TMNP).

The petition was started by Community Crime Prevention, a local security response group that was on patrol when it apprehended 23-year-old Sinaye Mposelwa with a black backpack that was believed to have belonged to Ivanov.

"On his clothes, and also his face, he was full of blood," prosecutor Nicky Konisi told the Wynberg Magistrate's Court on Monday.

Konisi said the blood was believed to be that of Ivanov as he was found with multiple stab wounds.

Ivanov, 44, a husband and father of three, had been in the country on business and was staying in Hout Bay on a two-day break.

Read: A Hiking Safety Alert: Tourists must avoid hiking alone after fatal attack in Table Mountain National Park

The Ukrainian Embassy in Pretoria told News24 it always warned tourists about the potential dangers of being in South Africa. It was in constant contact with his family and friends, as well as cooperating with authorities to have his body returned home.

The UK also warned its citizens to be careful in the quieter areas of the TMNP following "violent attacks on hikers and tourists on Table Mountain".  

Table Mountain Watch (TMW) has been vocal about its efforts to come up with a joint, agreed, integrated and acceptable solution to attacks in the park.

After the murder on Saturday, it declared the TMNP a "crime hot spot", and believed users were on their own when it came to their safety. 

People were warned not to enter the park on their own or without protection that includes weapons, self-defence techniques or safety in big groups.

TMW spokesperson Andre van Schalkwyk said the map below showed criminal incidents that it had logged in the TMNP from 2018 to date.

"How can they say the park isn't a hot spot?" he asked.

Red spots indicated multiple attacks in one area:

(Table Mountain Watch)
                                             (Supplied)

TMW pointed fingers at SANParks, the police, Office of the Premier, and provincial departments of community safety, and economic development and tourism.

News24 approached these parties for comment on Monday.

SANParks

SANParks' general manager for the Cape region, Norman Johnson, conveyed his condolences to Ivanov's family and friends.

He asked various stakeholders to allow the police investigation to unfold without anyone "making any inflammatory remarks" that could jeopardise their work.

Johnson said the TMNP was mostly an open access system with hundreds of places where entry/exit points were possible, adding there was a whole mountain range to hide away in.

He said the "overspill of urban crime" was a phenomenon common to all urban national parks like the TMNP.

"We would like to commend members of the neighbourhood watch for their swift response leading to the arrest of the perpetrator and call on other residents to join in the fight against crime on the mountain," Johnson added.  

Western Cape economic development and tourism department

Department spokesperson Martie Carstens said the TMNP action group had helped it to develop specific mountain safety tips, some of which were incorporated into their season readiness campaign in December 2018. 

"We are currently working on expanding our existing collateral for the industry to share with their guests, which will include safety tips developed with the TMNP action group. This is being done in conjunction with the industry and our tourism partners."

The department said it had disseminated safety information to tourist attractions, accommodation sites, embassies, consulates and specific events throughout the year.

It also had a 24/7 tourism safety support programme to provide emotional, logistical and physical support to victims of traumatic incidents.

Carstens said a tourism safety communication response team was working closely with different bodies to develop a plan and tools such as a dedicated website and digital campaigns aimed at specific markets.

SAPS

Western Cape police said they have yet to arrest two other men believed to have been involved in the fatal attack.

They did not respond to queries on the current status of a provincial joint operational and intelligence structure (ProvJoints) for Table Mountain.

Office of the Premier and Western Cape community safety department

In a joint statement, both offices said SANParks, as the custodian of the TMNP, should improve security measures, while noting the police remained the leading agency in crime prevention.

They said the national tourism department had funded a project for SANParks and a service provider to train and dispatch 62 "tourism safety monitors".

"Since the Department of Economic Development and Tourism met with the TMNP action group, tourism safety has been included in the prioritised crime committee for the first time, which is a very important step," they added.

"This will ensure that data is collected and a working group will be formed to deal with tourism safety, which the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies will treat as a priority. This is due to be ratified by the ProvJoints committee within the next two months."

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Read more on:    cape town  |  table mountain  |  murder  |  mountain climbers
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