The Hikers Network firstly wishes to extend condolences to the family and friends of the latest victim and all those that have lost lives in attacks and been injured in the past.
The Hikers Network did a sunset hike a mere 2 weeks before the tragic East Fort Incident and even though the current crime situation has escalated over the years, it was still an immense shock. The recent murders and violent attacks are a sad reality to the current crime situation in the City of Cape Town and South Africa.
Table Mountain is a Park within a City and has been affected with criminals and gangs driven by the need to get drugs and goods. They go hunting in the Park with no care for human life and consequences. Sanparks and the crime volunteer networks are doing as much as possible in the battle against crime in the interests of tourists, locals and mountain users.
We commend the efforts of Sanparks, Saps and Volunteers under the current ‘very difficult’ task as crime explodes and resources are stretched. Our role, we feel, would be to support them as well as put in additional measures over and above our safety systems.
The Hikers Network has continued to grow various hiking units over the Western Cape and have not downscaled activity but we have put in some extra measures.
What are we doing
- More hike leaders and scouting leaders deployed.
- Increased vigilance with external oversight by appointed/dedicated leaders for security at the tail end and front of group using communication between the two ends to ensure group safety.
- Avoid high mugging incident areas unless it is made a safe zone by authorities and patrolling volunteers.
- The use of the tracking system is to advise of threats, to get advice as well as call for help with the advantage of posting a location.
- We are doing lots of work on the ground in local communities to make sure that the current youth does not fall into the crime and drugs trap via our enviro hiking program. This is for the future.
- Making sure we are abreast of current crime intel as well as to plan accordingly.
- Checking on other trail users, engaging them whilst hiking.
- Hike in organised groups with hike leaders and larger numbers. Register with us to join
- Scout trails at least a week in advance as part of planning.
- In areas of concern, scout trails again on the day of the proposed hike.
- Relay all relevant concerns amongst group leaders.
- Group leaders are expected to note and observe all areas of concern such as boulders/bush which block the view of path users.
- If a questionable structure or area is found that appears used for sleeping or as a lookout post, this information is communicated to the rest of the group and the network as a whole.
- A scout is sent out slightly ahead of the pack but close enough to maintain visual contact with the rest of the group.
- When a possible threat is encountered, the rest of the group is alerted either via radio/cellphone or visual means.
- No additions are allowed to join the pack neither is any splitting of the group allowed.
- Evasive procedures include mustering the group closely on the mountain side of the trail, placing the adult males between the threat and the rest of the pack with children furthest from the threat.
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The Hikers Network
We are a mountain community and we feel that an injury to one is an injury to all. We remain committed to safety and will engage and work with all as we head out into the mountains. We continue to work within communities to bring change and transformation to our beautiful land.
The Hikers Network is celebrating 20 years as a community hiking organisation with mountain rescue as one of its functions via WSAR, a Tracking system for all to use and all our services are free!
We salute our volunteers that have made everything we are today possible as well as our loyal hiking and rescue members.
Anwaaz Bent – President The Hikers Network
Article written by
Anwaaz Bent & Yusuf Samaai