Since its inception, Friends of Table Mountain has been asking for the reinstatement of the TMNP forum, and finally, after a nomination process, SANParks hosted their first meeting with all the nominees.
Friends of Table Mountain is a public, mountain users’ forum with the following purpose:
“To ensure the appropriate management of Table Mountain National Park by the assigned management authority in the best interests of ecology, recreational use and eco-tourism in keeping with the Park’s founding principles of an urban national park.”
Apparently, there are around 70 nominees, which is too large to be an effective committee.
SANParks intended to whittle this figure down to a more constructive number. TMNP manager, Frans van Rooyen, proposed three different groupings based on the original six Ministerial Task Teams formed to “elect” representatives onto the TMNP forum.
These are as follows:
- Safety & Partnerships
- Users & Disadvantaged Communities
- Maintenance & Permits
“This approach proved to be problematic as we ended up with an interim TMNP forum of 29 people with a questionable “election” process and a number of people, not on this forum questioning why they weren’t elected.
“However, at least we are moving in the right direction and hopefully the new TMNP forum will mature into an organisation that can represent TMNP stakeholders appropriately.
“Unfortunately formation of the TMNP forum results in the six Ministerial Task Teams being dissolved, just when we were starting to see some results. However, this will not stop FoTM from communicating directly with Minister Creecy if we feel that our demands for a well-managed park are not being considered.”
There were some positives taken out of the meeting:
- There is an incredibly diverse group of Capetonians who are passionate about TMNP and want the best for this iconic park.
- Really positive feedback on the good work that Friends of Table Mountain has carried out was received. The one lesson learnt since the inception of FoTM is that public pressure can bring about positive change.
Friends of Table Mountain would also like to state for the record that the formation of the TMNP forum in no way absolves SANParks of their responsibilities and obligations to manage TMNP appropriately. FoTM will continue to be the voice of TM users and encourage our stakeholders, to get involved and raise their voices.