Safety on Table Mountain: 'They've got 16 trained dog rangers but no dogs!'
Capetonians and visitors are flocking to the Table Mountain range since the hard lockdown was relaxed.
But it's not the haven of tranquility it should be says Andy Davies, organiser from Friends of Table Mountain.
The group is lobbying for better management by SANParks, which it says has broken trust with the public.
Its concerns include security, the maintenance of trails and tourism promotion.
We've had some horrific crimes on Table Mountain and that crime is affecting tourism and also, I think we need to realise that in current times we see Table Mountain as a sanctuary, as a place of peace and tranquility.Andy Davies, Organiser - Friends of Table Mountain
But its's not a sanctuary at the moment says Davies, because people are scared.
The mountain isn't being well maintained, so we're standing together and we're trying to bring real tangible results.Andy Davies, Organiser - Friends of Table Mountain
We as a community need to do our best to bring change to the way that SANParks is managing Table Mountain National Park.Andy Davies, Organiser - Friends of Table Mountain
What are the group's concerns aside from security?
Anybody who walks on the mountain now knows that the trails are very badly degraded and also the other infrastructure. There's poor promotion of tourism and a number of related events that have been closed.Andy Davies, Organiser - Friends of Table Mountain
The most important thing according to Davies, is to address a significant breakdown in trust between SANParks and the public.
"SANParks needs to be able to communicate openly and transparently with the public."
It was very frustrating for us also, because even as task team members our job as public representatives was to try and resolve some of these issues - when we tried to unpack some of these issues and communicate with SANParks we were just basically ignored.Andy Davies, Organiser - Friends of Table Mountain
Friends of Table Mountain did manage to get a meeting with the SANParks chief some weeks ago, after writing to Minister Barbara Creecy (Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs).
However, they're not seeing changes happen as quickly as they'd like, says Davies.
The key issue on everybody's mind is crime - we'd like to see a much bigger budget allocated to safety of the public and the tourists on Table Mountain. We need to see more public safety officers. At the moment we only have 15 public safety officers at one time on the whole of the mountain chain!Andy Davies, Organiser - Friends of Table Mountain
They've got 16 trained dog rangers but they don't have any dogs - they retired all their dogs. We need to see a full dog contingent. You cannot police Table Mountain National Park without a good dog contingent.Andy Davies, Organiser - Friends of Table Mountain
For more on Davies' proposals, take a listen:
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