The Department of Tourism has said that it’s adding an 120 extra “tourism monitors” to SANParks territories in the Cape region. This follows the murder of a Ukranian tourist which raised fresh fears about safety at Cape Town’s hiking spots, particularly the Table Mountain.
At World Rangers Day last week, SANParks managing executive Property Mokoena announced the new tourism monitors and said training for rangers would need to prepare them to deal with violent crime instead of just protecting biodiversity.
“Our rangers were originally trained to protect and conserve the biodiversity of the national parks. Most of the serious threats which face our rangers, especially in this area, are criminal activities which are done by people. So, it changes the entire modalities of a ranger today,” Mokoena said.
Meanwhile, A Facebook monitoring group Table Mountain Watch (TMW) has called for lovers of the outdoors to take responsibility for their safety.
TMW said the relevant authorities had failed to protect park users.
“We are now firmly of the belief that we are on our own when it comes to security solutions. We really tried last year as an association of many park user groups to offer our ideas, possible solutions, time, assistance and even funding – but to little or no avail,” its post read.
SANParks spokesperson Lauren Clayton reminded park users that it was against the law to bring a weapon into the parks.
“We would not encourage users of the park to carry weapons as it poses a greater threat to you as an individual, group or visitors,” Clayton said.