Cape Town beefs up security for the holidays

 ·8 Nov 2023

The City of Cape Town will deploy its largest festive tourism safety operation, with a special Tourism Unit sent to popular areas of the city.

The Tourism Unit Personnel will be located in the Table Mountain National Park and the CBD.

The city’s plan features the South African Police Services (SAPS), SANParks, CIDs, and neighbourhood watches as partners.

“Safety is a top priority for the city, with over 4,000 uniformed enforcement and emergency personnel available in shifts as part of the city’s largest-ever safety deployment over a festive season,”’ said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

“Aside from general crime prevention activities, the city is making a special deployment of 80 personnel for dedicated safety, patrolling tourism routes at Signal Hill, Lion’s Head, Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain trails, the Bo-Kaap, Waterfront, and CBD.”

“Safety technology will also be a key feature of our festive operations, including drones, dashcams, automatic number plate recognition, and CCTV. This all forms part of the city’s major safety technology investment, amounting to R860 million over three years.”

A Metropole Integrated Joint Operational Centre (JOC) will also be created at the Traffic Management Centre (TMC) in Goodwood, which will coordinate with four other Areas JOCs across the city, integrated beach JOCs, and the SAPS Command Centre.

Cape Town is also using 3,000 public and private cameras and drones to improve surveillance, with the latter used in the city’s operations at beaches and around Table Mountain.

The city’s new Highway patrol unit will also be keeping an eye on the N2 and R300. It already uses dashcams equipped with Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) tech to pinpoint wanted vehicles and outstanding warrants instantly.

“Last festive season, our personnel deployed across the metropole executed more than 11,000 operations, working closely with other enforcement and public safety organisations,” said JP Smith, the city’s MMC for Safety and Security.

“Operations will be even larger this year, and the expanded tourism unit is but the latest example of identifying, and addressing a need, in partnership with other agencies, to improve public safety.”

James Vos, MMC for Economic Growth, said the city is also increasing safety travel advice for visitors in light of the growing number of tourists ending up in crime hotspots.

Various safety resources from the city also include:

  • TravelWise: This platform includes up-to-date safety information, practical tips and emergency contact numbers.

  • The Namola App: a free safety response app which pinpoints your location, and connects you to an emergency operator fast and efficiently.

  • The Band-Aid Programme: help for those in distress, including lost travel documents, counselling, emergency accommodation, laying a charge at SAPS, and contacting banks in the event of bank card fraud. The 24/7 Band-Aid contact number is 021 487 6552.

  • Visitors can also speak to CTT staff located at Cape Town International Airport, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, and City Hall. 

“We urge special caution for visitors following a GPS. Our TravelWise website outlines crime hotspot zones to alert visitors, and travellers may also contact CTT’s 24-hour Emergency WhatsApp line on +27 82 415 7127,” said Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy.

“Besides communicating vital safety information with CTTs extensive member database, the City is also in touch with diplomatic representatives, and is engaging with GPS services on safe route recommendations for travellers when moving in and around the metro,” said Vos.

“As we prepare for a busy summer season, in which we are expecting a record-breaking 1 million inbound international seats via air, we will continue to work hard and allocate resources to keep people in the province safe,” said Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities, Mireille Wenger.

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