The increasing incidence of crime and fire in the buffer zones/urban-wildland interfaces of Table Mountain National Park pose a serious threat to the urban edge.  The devastating fires of March 2015 (which destroyed several homes), numerous smaller fires, the slaying in June 2014 at Trappieskop, the brutal rape and murder in Lower Tokai in March 2016, and the fatal attack above Kalk Bay in January 2018, the murder in the Fish Hoek section of the Park, also in 2018, the murder of a Russian tourist in 2019, along with numerous other – increasing and ongoing – incidents of violent crime in known hotspots, highlight SANParks’ battle to adequately manage and find sustainable solutions for the unique 221 sq km urban National Park and World Heritage Site.


Table Mountain National Park is uniquely situated in an urban setting, and is supposed to be a People’s Park.  Unlike rural parks such as Kruger National Park, it must meet a diverse and wide range of local user needs; particularly the needs of communities who lack urban green space.  As an open access park, management strategies for the Park need to be specific, inclusive and sustainable to meet the demands of an increasingly densifying city environment.  Unfortunately local users regularly run into issues and concerns that hinge primarily around safety with respect to crime and fire; access and creeping fees; a focus on biodiversity and touristic commercialisation to the exclusion of local user groups, ratepayers and communities; and, the failure to effectively manage buffer zones and urban wildland interfaces, particularly where they lie adjacent to dense urban edges.

The issues pertaining to the management of TMNP dates back over 18 years to when it became apparent, through a flawed public participation process, that TMNP managers failed to pay heed to public concerns.  Over time the relationship between SANParks and many users and stakeholder groups has become increasingly fractious, with lack of safety within the Park being a key driver.

On 7 March 2016 the brutal rape and murder of a teenage girl took place in the fynbos section of Lower Tokai.  This terrible tragedy brought the issue of crime and safety in the Park into sharp focus – yet when asked as to how they will manage this problem on an ongoing basis, SANParks have repeatedly failed to respond adequately, and efforts have inevitably been reactive rather than proactive. As a result, nothing changes and crime persists.

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In light of this tragedy, along with other murders, multiple rapes, stabbings and muggings throughout the Park – and the reluctance of SANParks to engage with concerned citizens on an inclusive and sustainable basis – the vision was born to ensure that the buffer zones and urban-wildland interfaces where conserved for the physical, emotional and spiritual health and well-being of the people of Cape Town, starting with lower Tokai Park as a potential model.  The objective is to create safe parkscapes – including areas of urban forest – for all and to protect and preserve cultural and heritage landscapes.