A prominent safety group who monitor crime in the Table Mountain National Park have released a fiery statement on their social media pages, slamming the government and local authorities for failing to protect visitors.
The embittered post was shared on Sunday afternoon, just a day after a Ukranian businessman was stabbed to death while hiking a trail in Hout Bay. His belongings were taken, and he was attacked just a short distance from the communal car park. Another victim was also mugged in the East Fort area just a few hours later.
The heinous actions fit a pattern of crime which has blighted the region for the best part of two years. Both tourists and locals have been subjected to brutal attacks, with multiple fatalities being reported since the end of 2017. Table Mountain Watch claim that hikers have “been left on their own” in terms of safety:
“Recent attacks, going back to late 2017, displayed the same tendencies of anger, cruelty, savagery, barbarity, hate and horror. As Park users, after much discussion and communication today, we are now firmly of the belief that we are on our own when it comes to security solutions.”
“Table Mountain National Park is a crime hot-spot. You enter here fully at your own risk. If it means hiring our own security organisations to accompany us, then so be it. Discuss weapons of choice, move in bigger groups and consult on your options, rights and methods.”
Table Mountain Watch essentially feel abandoned by the various authorities who should be making this iconic landmark a safe place to visit. They have asked why the Department of Tourism has defaulted on a safety plan. They are upset that SAPS aren’t holding any forums on the matter. And, the group want management intervention from SANParks.
The situation has become such a concern in the sprawling reserve, even the UK Foreign Office has issued a warning to visitors of Table Mountain – their travel advice is usually reserved for regions like Hillbrow and Berea, crime-ridden areas of South Africa’s inner-cities.
“Hikers should stick to popular trails and hike in large groups taking local advice where available on security. There have been violent attacks on hikers and tourists on Table Mountain. Take care in quieter areas of the Park, especially early in the morning or just before the park closes.”UK Foreign Office
For those planning to hike across the mountain range, we put together a few safety tips for visitors earlier this year: