Media Release: Table Mountain NP Visitor Safety Team ready and prepared for season
Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) yesterday congratulated 30 Visitor Safety Rangers in an official Passing Out Parade at the foot of Table Mountain. With a full squad of 60 visitor safety rangers and 11 visitor safety dogs, TMNP is ready and prepared for the peak festive season.
SANParks CEO, Dr David Mabunda, addressed and inspected the rangers, along with Brigadier Dyantyi, Provincial Crime Prevention Officer for the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Paddy Gordon, Park Manager for Table Mountain National Park. 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 Dr Mabunda.
Paddy Gordon is pleased that the investment was made 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 (trained to Level 4 to search and retrieve), a result of a community-sponsorship campaign run last year by the Table Mountain National Park Honorary Rangers which led to the sponsorship of 11 dogs, expansion of their kennels, and a range of services that support the Dog Unit. Past successes of the Dog Unit now require the extension of the unit to the southern sections of the park and these plans are now under investigation. Upon hearing of this extension, Mayco Member for Safety and Security in the City of Cape Town, JP Smith, announced at the function that his department would be sponsoring 4 additional dogs to the unit.
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.
Table Mountain National Park and its Visitor Safety team is prepared and ready for the festive season.
Regional Communications Manager: Cape Region
South African National Parks
Tel: 021 689 4441; Cell: 072 627 3910
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