SANParks beefs up security on Table Mountain

(iStock)
(iStock)

Cape Town – South African National Parks (SANParks) says it has launched several initiatives to improve safety on Table Mountain following a string of attacks on popular hiking routes in recent months.

SANParks said on Friday that it held several meetings with the security cluster and other stakeholders to deal with "safety and security challenges" on Table Mountain National Park (TMNP).

"As SANParks we will continue to pursue the joint approach working closely with various law enforcement agencies, the City, government and community groups," said regional spokesperson Merle Collins.

He said SANParks was "investigating the viability of technological solutions given the vast terrain, the numerous access points into the park and the spillover into the park of urban crime".

"All parties, internally and externally, agreed that a unified approach is key to tackling the issue of increased crime on TMNP, and a joint operational approach with key law enforcement agencies will be ratified through a formal process at a national level."

Table Mountain National Park's acting park manager Gavin Bell said the park had taken other steps to increase safety, including the use of patrol dogs.

17 incidents in two months

"We are very concerned about the increase in attacks on the mountain and it is indeed regrettable that there has been a life lost," Bell said.

In January, a 56-year-old man was stabbed to death while hiking in the park. Before his killing, another group of hikers was attacked and stabbed by robbers. News24 reported on January 13 that there were three stabbing incidents on the same day on the mountain.

"To this end SANParks has in the meantime increased its security efforts further to what is already outlined in the safety and security park management plan for Table Mountain National Park, and have increased our ranger deployment and utilised our dog unit consisting of highly trained 12 dogs patrolling an open access urban park," he said.

SANParks also welcomed the arrest of suspects in an attack in January in the Silvermine section of the park.

In just over two months, there have been at least 17 incidents.

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