As Blessing Bavani’s trial looms on the 29th April, Capetonians are reminded that they need to stay vigilant whilst taking to the outdoors.
News24 reports that the man who, in 2 separate incidents, fatally attacked Ian McPherson and Doug Notten in early 2018 will remain in custody until his trial.
Notten and his wife were attacked at Echo Valley above Boyes Drive whilst McPherson was targeted while cycling near Brigandine Avenue, Fish Hoek.
An increase in attacks
According to IOL News, there has been an increase in attacks on cyclists and hikers, with about 6 violent incidents since January.
Table Mountain Watch, a community safety initiative which is Table Mountain’s ‘Eyes and Ears’ has highlighted the hot spots which include Signal Hill, Red Hill, Kleinplaas and the front of Deer Park.
They state that an integrated approach is needed to deal with crime in the Cape’s national parks and are calling on various entities to help prevent the attacks on mountain goers.
Current safety procedure
The South African National Park (SANParks) rangers work jointly with Saps, metro police and community forums to ensure safety on the mountain. Since the spate of attacks,The Citizen reports that SANParks have increased their ranger deployment and introduced a dog unit on patrol.
According to The Table Mountain National Park – Park Management Plan, they intend to increase visitor awareness on safety issues and potential hazards through “purposeful visitor safety signage and information (e.g. brochures, website updates, etc) and the integrated use of surveillance technology.”
But the outdoor community is taking things into their own hands as well.
Table Mountain Watch has taken initiative and begun organising safe hikes for members of various hiking clubs.
This is working in Tokai, as a great example, and down south with #SafeSouthHikes and with clubs like Hikers Paradise with their #tbom hikes.Andre Van Schalkwyk Table Mountain Watch spokesperson.
Take Back Our Mountain (#tbom) organised an awareness meet on Fish Hoek Beach consisting of 80 hikers and cyclists to draw attention to the problem earlier this year.
How to keep yourself safe on Table Mountain
The following tips are from SANParks:
- Do not hike alone.
- Do not attract unwanted attention by openly displaying cash, cameras or other valuables.
- If you are confronted by a criminal, don’t resist.
- Handover your goods as resistance might incite a mugger to violence.
- Program emergency numbers in your cellphone before your hike.