Following several attacks in Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) recently, safety initiative Table Mountain Watch is demanding answers from SANParks over safety risks.
Andre van Schalkwyk of Table Mountain Watch said criminal incidents were happening in the area.
“The incidents are ongoing,” said Van Schalkwyk.
“It’s just a matter of time before we have another ICU case or death in the Park.”
Van Schalkwyk said three trail runners were attacked, one sustaining mild injuries, in the mountains above Soetwater. Van Schalkwyk said another incident was an attempted mugging near the Bos 400 wreck.
“For years we have put forward suggestions and proposals for the joint management of safety in the park. For as many years we were met with reluctance and outright rejection of solutions.
TABLE MOUNTAIN WATCH DEMANDS ANSWERS FROM SANPARKS OVER SAFETY RISKS
Yet more attacks in Table Mountain National Park -…
At the end of February, SANParks hosted a two-day information-sharing field trip to TMNP, where the establishment of a command centre that will serve as a central point for the reporting of emergencies and the dispatching of security resources on the mountain was discussed.
“Their media junket made much of the R2bn Mission Area Joint Operations Centre (MAJOC) that they will launch at some yet to be disclosed future date. The operation aims to mimic the Majocs that fight rhino poaching in Kruger.
“SANParks should rather be taking the R2bn they hope to raise and invest it in real-time Internet of Things (IoT) technology, which includes drones, CCTV and sensor surveillance. This would go a long way to solving SANParks’ often-lamented issues of manpower and park size,” said Van Schalkwyk.
Mismanagement and corruption
He said utilising technology and existing resources would work equally well for crime-related activities as it would for fire and even landslide prevention.
“It can even monitor dam wall movement at places like Silvermine where we have seen previous issues of cracks and leakage… Just sticking a helicopter in the air and not talking to us is not going to cut it,” he said.
Van Schalkwyk said the MAJOC sounded like “yet another mega ANC project, which risks being subjected to the usual mismanagement and corruption”.
In response, SANParks said the safety and security of visitors and users remained a top priority.
“We take this responsibility as the organisation very seriously,” Times Live quoted SANParks spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli as saying.
Picture: Cape Town etc gallery