A non-profit group of volunteers has been rebuilding Tokai Park mountain bike trails destroyed in the March 2015 fires and beefing up security in the reserve.
The pilot project started by mountain-bike enthusiasts TokaiMTB pushed back against several muggings in the Table Mountain National Park (TMNP) last year (“Robbed at knifepoint,” Bulletin, August 11, 2016).
The initiative resembles the city improvement district model and incorporates neighbourhood watches, the police and SANParks. Marshals and vehicle patrols, working together and staying in radio contact, patrol strategic points in Tokai Park.
TokaiMTB’s Deon de Villiers said last week that 10 months had gone by since they started the pilot project with no criminal incidents in Tokai Park.
But the project was started with seed funding from a anonymous donor, and TokaiMTB now need to raise more money to keep it going and roll it out into other areas.
Mr De Villiers said Tokai MTB’s efforts in Tokai Park had seen crime shift to Silvermine, where there had been two muggings on Sunday June 18.
Three men armed with a large knife attacked a woman and later an older couple. They took the woman’s bag and jewellery, a wallet and phones from the couple. The muggers ran off on the Blackburn Ravine route towards Hout Bay.
Hout Bay police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch confirmed the incident, and Kirstenhof’s Sergeant Deidre Solomon said there had been three robberies at Silvermine from May to August.
Another positive spin-off from the project is that marshals have been aiding dehydrated, lost or injured hikers, runners and mountain bikers.
Tokai Park is possibly the most consistently used area of TMNP with about 300 people using the area on a quiet day.
“Without securing funding we could face the same issues that have plagued similar projects in the past where other groups have set out to achieve similar goals. It seems users are lulled into a false sense of security as crimes reduce and enthusiasm wanes,” said Mr De Villiers. SANParks spokeswoman Merle Collins said they had a dedicated visitor safety team for Table Mountain which ran regular patrols, observation points, intelligence gathering and joint operations with SAPS.
Asked if TokaiMTB security project showed promise, she said, “Definitely, we’re working closely with the TokaiMTB and have seen positive results. Our partnership with TokaiMTB assists us with covering more areas and we have more hands and feet available for joint operations.”
For further details contact Deon de Villiers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 072 431 5639.