Media Release: Table Mountain National Park Moves On Visitor Safety
Visitor Safety is once again firmly at the top of the agenda for Table Mountain National Park (TMNP). This week park managers revealed a consolidated strategy to be unleashed on the first day of spring, September 01, 2008, which will mesh professional park visitor safety activity with SAPS policing.
Brett Myrdal, the TMNP’s park manager said the consolidated crime combating strategy was motivated partly by the success of earlier monitoring operations, lessons learnt after arrests and from the interaction between park officials, the SAPS, the Park Forum, and other interested groups.
The strategy accommodates hands-on opportunities for local mountain lovers to act in a disciplined manner to help keep Table Mountain National Park safe for visitors and free of criminal activity. The strategy has the full support of the South African Police Services. Support will be sought from a number of NGOs such as the Mountain Club of South Africa, Friends of Lions Head, iKapa Honorary Rangers and Friends of Silvermine that are already involved in various activities in the Park.
In terms of the strategy:
- TMNP continue to commit a dedicated ranger team of 52 staff members and a dog unit which collectively works more than 10,000 man hours per month patrolling Table Mountain.
- The Visitor Safety team already occupy new offices at the foot of Lion's Head in order to be more efficient and improve deployment of staff to high crime risk areas.
- TMNP's visitor safety rangers have received additional resources including an additional three vehicles giving them a fleet of five vehicles to patrol and speed the dog unit to scenes of reported muggings.
- The TMNP Communication Centre has been upgraded to handle all emergency calls on 086 110 6417 and call centre staff have received training, site visits and maps of park and police precinct boundaries.
- The Visitor Information Centre at Kloofnek is operational and manned 24 hours per day, seven days a week.
- Integration with SAPS forces dedicated to mountain safety, equipped with SANParks two way radios.
- TMNP will work closely with up to 32 formal volunteer organisations and Friends groups to adopt the eight visitor information centres and draw up schedules for manning them. The Park will ensure that all such staff undergo hospitality, code of conduct, and communications protocol training.
- These volunteers would advise visitors to the TMNP about safe behaviour and act as a central point where suspicious activity could be reported and if necessary park safety rangers alerted to take action.
- The City of Cape Town will be approached to finalise their decision to install additional CCTV cameras at strategic points.
Volunteers will act as “eyes and ears” overseeing visitor activity in the park and reporting suspicious activities to designated control officers who, in turn will alert highly trained park security rangers, supported by a dog unit to take appropriate action. “This will be a highly disciplined group, acting within strict protocols to make sure it operates with efficiency to help bring an end to muggings and make the mountain safe.”
“In terms of SANParks accountability as a custodian of Table Mountain National Park, all volunteer groups have to formalise themselves and align themselves to SANPark’s mission and values and subscribe to the organisation’s code of conduct and communications protocol,” Myrdal said.
Myrdal added that with the full deployment of our trained safety rangers supported by aligned NGOs, the MCSA, hiking and climbing clubs, and all those who enjoy the Park, the TMNP will strive to bring an end to the attacks on visitors.
“The message will go out loud, clear and strong that criminal activity of any kind is not and will not be tolerated on Table Mountain National Park,” he concluded.
HWB Communications on behalf of Table Mountain National Park, Evelyn Holtzhausen, WB Communications, Tel: 021 462 0416.
Phumeza Mgxashe, Communications Manager, Table Mountain National Park, Tel: 021 701 8692, Cell: 083 480 1522.
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