The City of Cape Town has launched its festive season safety plan, announcing that more than 4,000 members from its law enforcement units will be deployed this summer. This as the Mother City prepares for a record-breaking tourist season, that’ll exceed its 2018 figures.
The launch – which saw the City’s councillors and role players from its various law enforcement agencies gathered – was held on the slopes of Table Mountain on Wednesday. Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis says safeguarding domestic and international visitors is pivotal, especially in light of recent incidents that have made news headlines.
“We are doing a special deployment of 80 additional officers. This is in addition to the officers that SANParks, and that the SAPS are putting on as well. Those officers will be focused on tourism hotspots like the mountain, Bo-Kaap, the CBD, and so on. They will be focused on keeping visitors and tourists safe.”
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THE BUDGET FOR THIS DEPLOYMENT
The mayor has confirmed that R20 million to R30 million has been spent on this deployment which comprises the Metro Police, Law Enforcement, the Equestrian Unit (Metro Police), The K9 Unit, the Marine Unit (Law Enforcement), Public Safety officers, Fire and Rescue Services, the use of technology, and more.
Safety and security mayco member, JP Smith is confident that the operational plan will help curb violent crime.
“We’re going to have a real bumper crop of tourists. We want to make sure that we’re safe. We’ve had problems on the mountain. We’ve had other incidents that have received a lot of international attention. This is very bad for those 80 000 people who work in tourism and all their families who depend on those jobs and income. We want to grow the tourism industry and not shed tourism.”
COMMUNITIES CALL FOR TOURISM TRAINING
Meanwhile, Neighbourhood Watch members, who were also in attendance, feel that they require training in connection with tourism and the safety of domestic and international visitors. They are also calling on the municipality to deploy additional resources that will see NHW groups being accompanied by law enforcement officials when they do their community patrols. Susan Jantjies is the chairperson of the Delft Echo Neighbourhood Watch.
“We need training. This is the information we need because not all our people know how to go about certain things, especially when we go out with tourists and we come across a guy with a gun who threatens to take their cameras. Yes, we will be there, we will protect them, but what can we do further? We don’t have guns and stuff.”
The City’s festive season safety plan remains in place until 30 January 2024.