The Table Mountain National Park and the numerous tourists who visit its picturesque hiking trails are not really protected, despite the fact that it generates enough revenue.
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This is what Barabara Creecy, the minister of forests, fisheries, and environmental affairs ( DFFE), said in a written question to the House of Commons.
Over 800 kilometers of hiking trails and popular tourist destinations, such as the Cableway, Devils Peak, Lions Head, and Signal Hill, can be found in Table Mountain National Park.
Through the South African National Parks ( also known as SANParks ), the DFFE is in charge of all matters pertaining to the national park and is responsible for maintaining the park’s safety as well as the safety of its visitors.
The City of Cape Town is supporting SANParks and SAPS in their efforts to combat crime after a spike in crime in the TMNP region.
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However, the National Government’s most recent parliamentary response shows a lack of dedication to effectively managing the national park, which is consistent with issues at other tourist destinations like the Castle of Goodhope.
Creecy acknowledged in the written response that TMNP only employs 70 rangers on a set schedule.
The rangers were each deployed for 45 of the 168 hours per week that operational deployment must cover. Additionally, it is known that the majority of this deployment is concentrated in the marine reserve’s southernmost section, where illegal poaching is rampant.
JP Smith, a mayco member for safety and security, said,” Minister Creecy giving clarity on the finances of TMNP was perhaps the most shocking realization.”
In the wake of the pandemic, the city has done a lot to boost the local economy, with our tourism industry receiving particular attention.
” TMNP” has an annual income of roughly R300 million Rand and an expenditure of R97 million. This raises the question of where all of this income is going if SANParks has too few rangers and is severely understaffed. It probably supports the funding of other parks in the SA area.
” In our opinion, the City could support an additional 400 Law Enforcement officers near Table Mountain National Park if even half of the R200 million surplus generated annually were allocated by the National Government to fund additional resources.” Compared to the current ranger deployment, that is five times more. The safety of park visitors would be greatly increased as a result.
Smith continued,” The city could accomplish so much more and guarantee that local, domestic, and international visitor safety was bringing more tourists and more jobs to our city if some of this budget funded additional technology, such as cameras, drones, aerial support and deployed according to a GPS-enabled, evidence-led despatching system.”
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Not only is it possible, but it also ought to be done, he continued.
We’ll do our best to continue helping the neighborhood SAPS and SANParks rangers in the park while also making it a priority to fight gang violence and serious crime elsewhere in our city. We can redeploy resources supporting TMNP and concentrate the maximum resources on the areas of the City dealing with the most difficult crime threats by making sure that those in the National Government responsible for funding the mountain’s safety are adequately funded.
Smith urged the public to exert pressure on National Government Minister Creecy and her fellow ministers. More than just a commercial asset, our Table Mountain National Park. We must make sure to safeguard it with more than just empty promises because it is a part of our heritage.
In light of rising crime in tourist hotspots, the city will increase safety precautions.
JP Smith / Facebook image