The Mountain Club of SA’s Cape Town branch claims that it is overwhelmed with reports of skirmishes between members of the public and Table Mountain National Park rangers.
The Cape Town section of the Mountain Club had asked for comments following last Friday’s incident that left cyclist Nicholas Dlamini with a broken arm after an altercation with rangers.
The Mountain Club’s Cape Town chairperson, Martin Hutton-Squire said:
“From the responses, which vary from stories of verbal and physical attacks, to arrests and fines due to various frivolous claims, it is clear that many park users have fallen victim to the poor training and unclear mandate of the rangers.”
Hutton-Squire said the respondents condemned park managers for ignoring the numerous complaints against the rangers and failing to address their behaviour.
Now the Mountain Club says it will work with politicians, including environment minister Barbara Creecy to find a “permanent solution”.
“The rangers should be properly trained and mentored to ensure that they understand how to engage with the public, regardless of the circumstances. Many park users have aired their frustration regarding the response from park management when a complaint is lodged against rangers, and many complain that no evident action seems to be taken, and that the situation is not improving.”
SANParks spokesperson Reynold Thakhuli said on Tuesday they had taken note of the letter and its contents.
“Due to the nature of the incident and the subsequent legal implications we will not comment.”
According to Thakhuli an independent investigator had been appointed to look into what happened and five officials involved in Dlamini’s detention were officially suspended pending the outcome.
He said the matter was now sub judice following Dlamini’s announcement that he appointed legal representation.