About 120 more rangers will be deployed in the Table Mountain National Park to curb crime. This follows a recent spike in muggings and murders.
In the latest incident, a 43-year-old Ukrainian man was stabbed to death on Chapman’s Peak on Saturday. A second suspect was arrested at Hout Bay Harbour in connection with the murder on Wednesday morning.
At least 14 hikers are reported to have been attacked in the Table Mountain area this year.
Managing Executive for Parks at SANParks, Property Mokoena says the new recruits will prioritise safety. He was speaking at the World Rangers Day celebrations in Cape Town.
“We are in the process of appointing 120 rangers, who will be deployed in the different functional areas, of which safety is one of their priorities. The program is going to be funded by the national Department of Tourism and we welcome that and appreciate it. Monitors will be placed in all the cape region parks including this national park, Table Mountain.”
Mokoena says there’s a need to rethink the training of park rangers as urban crime patterns seem to be spilling over into national parks.
He says they need to refocus on training rangers.
“The training which we give to our rangers, we need to adapt to that setup because our rangers were originally trained to protect and conserve the biodiversity of the national parks. Most of the serious threat which faces our rangers, especially in this area, is criminal activity which is done by people. So, it changes the entire modalities of a ranger today.”
Statistics show that the fight against poaching in game parks is becoming increasingly dangerous. The World Wildlife Fund says global figures show that more than 800 field rangers have been killed on duty in the past 10 years.
Last year, Respect Mathebula became the first ranger to be killed by poachers in the Kruger National Park in more than 50 years.
As the world celebrates World Rangers Day, SANParks says rangers need more support against poaching syndicates.