Table Mountain becomes haven for South Africa's robbers

Tourists visiting South Africa's most iconic landmark are being targeted by criminals.

• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

It is arguably one of Africa’s most iconic landmarks. But beneath its smooth peak, all is not well on the slopes of Table Mountain and the surrounding national park.

A rising number of attacks on locals and tourists have forced park management to double the number of armed wardens patrolling the 62,000-acre park stretching down the Cape Peninsula.

Volunteer groups estimate there have been 130 attacks on strollers and cyclists in the past decade, with half of those attacks occurring in the past three years. Most are threatened with weapons by robbers who then slip away into heavy undergrowth.

With around 4.2 million annual visitors and growing anger among local politicians about the rise in crime, Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) was forced to act.

David Mabunda, chief executive of South African National Parks, says an additional 50 rangers will be added to the current 55 wardens and visitor safety officers. Guards will be armed and more will be accompanied by dogs.

“We cannot allow the internationally iconic status of TMNP to be negatively impacted by ongoing crime in this area,” Dr. Mabunda says.Tab

“At the end of the day ... we want both our domestic and international visitors to be able to enjoy the park to its fullest without any fear.”

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