Past incidents have shown that criminals rely on recreational users in this natural environment being generally isolated and unable to quickly summon help. So to combat this issue, TokaiMTB in 2016 insisted on introducing a safety patrol and monitoring programme to help ensure the safety of users, and to assist SANParks in the event of an accident or emergency before reopening Tokai to Park users after the devastating fires of 2015.
The initiative consists simply of “spotters” stationed in observation posts and the TokaiMTB 4x4 linked to an emergency number, providing roving patrols and trailside emergency assistance. Both spotters and vehicle are in radio contact with a security control room run by a local business, constantly sharing information vital to quickly dispatching assistance in any number of forms if and when needed.
The initiative has focussed its coverage in areas where past criminal incidents have been recorded.
Initially, the safety patrol was available on weekends only but for the last year has been extended to include Tuesdays and Thursdays at certain times thanks to the generous donations from several local bike shops and private donors too.
A very useful addition has been the implementation of an emergency phone number that puts users in direct contact with the team on the mountain. This has helped greatly in reducing response times, allowing the team to be placed on the scene within minutes to assess and coordinate the situation between law enforcement and medical agencies, and in all cases Sanparks. It has proved to be a fantastic reporting mechanism for anybody witnessing suspicious activity or threatening situations like fire, making every user in the mountain with the number a desperately needed extension of our eyes and ears.
In the past year, the TokaiMTB patrol has been responsible for the arrest of two criminals returning to the scene of two successful earlier attacks to lay in wait for yet another victim. Swift action between TokaiMTB and Sanparks resulted in the tracking and apprehension of the two men disguised in camouflage and carrying weapons identical to those used in past attacks spanning several years.
The patrol has deterred and disrupted the movements of numerous other suspicious situations, as well as driving continued investigations linked to the arrest resulting in the return of stolen goods through uncovering links higher up in the chain of this type of crime.
The presence of the team has aided many injured or distressed riders, while coordinating medical evacuations for the more seriously injured riders. The initiative has even provided assistance in two cases of riders injured outside of the park, unable to successfully call in assistance themselves. We’ve even helped hikers too…
Given the frequency and violent nature of crime taking place on the mountain in areas to the north and south of Tokai, TokaiMTB believes that the single defining difference in Tokai is simply the effort put in by the unpaid volunteers and staff funded through our initiatives, that both man and coordinate the patrols taking the inclusive approach that works hand-in-hand with the following groups; SANParks, SANParks Honorary Rangers, law enforcement agencies, the Table Mountain Safety Action Group (TMSAG), neighbourhood watches, civic organizations, local businesses and the patrol sponsors.
Follow our social media channels for updates and recognition of these various supporting groups, who without working together with a single intended goal, none of this would be possible.
The TokaiMTB emergency number is 071 424 4712 and is available for emergencies and any possible threat during Tokai operating hours.