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Table Mountain Unsafe


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Mountain Mugging Alert


Jul 20, 2010 (Cape Argus/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- A safety action group has declared parts of Table Mountain "no-go zones" after muggers, brandishing broken bottles and knives, attacked hikers and residents in at least 10 incidents since May.


The Table Mountain Safety Action Group (TMSAG) said areas such as Sandy Bay and King's Blockhouse near Devil's Peak were dangerous for cyclists, hikers and residents walking their dogs along the trails.


The group, formed in 2007 after a spate of attacks on Table Mountain, warned people to be on the look out for "scruffily dressed" men who work in teams of two or three.


TMSAG spokesperson Andre van Schalkwyk said there had been an increase in incidents since February, when two attacks occurred at Signal Hill within three days of each other.


Rondebosch police have confirmed only two robberies, both of which happened on July 4. In both incidents, residents had been walking alone near Rhodes Memorial just before 6pm.


Police spokesperson Captain Angie Latchman said: "They were confronted by two unknown males who held them up at knifepoint and stole their clothing and cash." The suspects, described as dark in complexion and small in build, fled the scene on foot with their loot.


The TMSAG said that since then other incidents had been reported at Newlands Forest, Kirstenbosch (Skeleton Gorge), Devil's Peak, Vlakkenberg (above Hout Bay), Sandy Bay and the King's Blockhouse above Rhodes Memorial on Devil's Peak.


Van Schalkwyk said he had contacted the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) with his concerns but no action had, as yet, been taken.


Paddy Gordon, manager of the TMNP, said about 50 visitor safety rangers patrolled the entire park and that plans were in the pipeline to address the issue.


"We are obviously concerned and will react and respond as soon as possible," said Gordon. "We also regret these incidents." He said discussions were to be held on redirecting resources to deal with safety problems.


"During the World Cup we concentrated heavily on the Signal Hill, Cape Point and Boulder's Bay area as we had a high influx of people there," he explained.


Police have warned residents to avoid walking or riding alone in the affected areas of Table Mountain.


The TMSAG has noted the following incidents since February, although police could not confirm these: Signal Hill, February: An American man was robbed and apparently injured with a pair of scissors on Sunday, February 14.


And three students studying English at a local language school were robbed on Tuesday, February 16, when three men stepped out from behind a tree and threatened to kill them unless they handed over their belongings.


Money, cellphones, cameras and watches were stolen.


Newlands Forest, early May: Two men brandishing broken bottles threatened a group of people in Newlands Forest.


Rhodes Memorial (upper contour path area), May 12: Three men attacked a woman.


Kirstenbosch (Skeleton Gorge), May 12: Three men armed with knives robbed a group of hikers. Equipment and a cellphone were taken.


Devil's Peak, May 29: Four men came up from the Newlands Forest side and threatened hikers with knives. Cameras and backpacks were taken.


Vlakkenberg (above Hout Bay), June 18: Four women hiking near Hout Bay were robbed by three men armed with pangas and knives.


They were tied up and their boots, jackets, rucksacks and other equipment and valuables were taken.


Sandy Bay, June 20: Two men armed with knives attacked a German woman and an Italian man who were walking on the beach. Cellphones, a camera, shoes and R1 000 was taken.


King's Blockhouse. July 4: Two "scruffy-looking" men armed with knives made off with a cellphone, a camera and a jacket.


Rondebosch police recorded a similar incident on the same day when a resident was robbed by two men while walking in the area.


Sandy Bay, July 7: Two men armed with pangas robbed seven men of their bags, cellphones and wallets.




It seems like safety in numbers doesn't even help anymore.


Funny enough I was up at the blockhouse yesterday around midday and met a police patrol vehicle. They said that they patrol everyday as long as its not raining. I also saw 2 ranger vehicles.


I also saw that a contractor has been fixing up the jeep tracks so there's a lot of activity during the day so its probably a bit safer.


Does anyone know how to find out more about this Table Mountain Safety Action Group?

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