Friends of Table Mountain demand more park rangers

Friends of Table Mountain picket in front of Parliament.

Friends of Table Mountain picket in front of Parliament.

Published Feb 16, 2024


Muggings on Table Mountain prompted activists to demand more rangers within the national park that is home to the international landmark.

Now the online petition by Friends of Table Mountain (FTOM) has had more than 11 000 signatures.

The organisation’s chairperson, Andy Davies, said: “We had to line it up with the opening of Parliament and also we know that crime is subsiding and there’s not much attention on crime, at the moment.

“The petition is intended for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy, we officially invited her.

“She didn’t come so we are going to send it via email.”

Davies said the number of muggings has decreased.

“In the last three months of 2023, we saw muggings every day that galvanised the various law enforcement agencies to provide more resources and visible policing on the mountain.

“That has resulted in a significant drop in crime. We are particularly grateful to the City of Cape Town, they provided a lot of visible police. There were a number of significant arrests.”

Last month a suspected mugger fell to his death.

That is one of the reasons FOTM wants to have consistent policing.

“We believe the SANParks rangers play an important role on the mountain, maintaining trails, providing info to tourists. We want SANParks to provide more rangers who are ideally suited to prevent crime on the mountain, rangers who are trained to make arrests.”

Their petition on reads: “Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) is celebrated as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, nestled in the heart of Cape Town.

“It provides both residents and tourists with unparalleled access to its rugged beauty, diverse fauna, and unique flora, forming a crucial part of the Unesco-designated Cape Floristic Region.

“While TMNP remains highly profitable for SANParks, it is evident that insufficient resources are allocated to address the persistent crime issues. For the 2022/23 financial year, TMNP generated an impressive income of R298 million, yet only R97 million was allocated to the park. This disparity is unacceptable.”

FOTM demands the immediate recruitment of rangers, security infrastructure to develop a long-term plan for installing a comprehensive camera network at critical access points, repair derelict fencing and evaluate potential enhancements to prevent criminal ingress and egress at hot spots, and a collaborative security plan.

The organisation invited Creecy but no one from her office attended the petition.

However, the DA’s spokesperson on Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, David Bryant, showed up and took the document , saying he would submit it to the portfolio committee and to the minister.

“We have been asking the minister a number of questions, for quite a while now in terms of what steps have been taken to increase the capacity when it comes to security on Table Mountain.

“It’s a very difficult place to police but that shouldn’t be a reason to not make an effort.”

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