To: Executive Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia de Lille, Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, and the Minister of the DEA, the Hon. Edna Molewa.
TOKAI PARK SAFETY CAMPAIGN
Throughout Table Mountain National Park, local users are becoming increasingly disgruntled as issues of safety, access and a failure to engage with the public, grow.
In March 2015, the people of Constantiaberg Valley suffered extensive loss as fires raged across the southern section of Table Mountain National Park. In March 2016 they also experienced the devastating tragedy of the loss of a young life in Lower Tokai. With the imminent felling of Lower Tokai plantation, things, for this community, have reached breaking point. As the Women of Westlake - for whom Tokai Forest is a critical and freely accessible area of recreation - have said, “We no longer feel safe in Tokai Forest, we don’t go there anymore.” Many members of the community, especially parents, echo their words.
The community does not, however, accept that what was once an area of safe recreation should be snatched from them. Issues of biodiversity aside, the community requests a mandate of “Safety First.” Table Mountain National Park is an urban park for all the people of Cape Town to enjoy. “Tokai Forest”, in particular, is a welcome green space for the local and broader community, and the green nature of Tokai is part of the aesthetic definition of the suburb.
Following on the incidents of the last two years, the community requests visibility and safety in Lower Tokai. It decries the dense, often head-height, hectares of fynbos in which criminal activity takes place, and which brings the threat of fire right to the urban edge.
The community wants a safe urban park, and is willing to work with SANParks and the City to ensure the creation of an informal, open and shaded, biodiverse park that honours cultural heritage and provides safe recreation for all users (existing and new) of Lower Tokai Park (the entire area within the approx. 4km bike/walking track).
Why is this important?
Safety in Lower Tokai Park is deteriorating due to the lack of visibility created by dense fynbos which provides a place for vagrancy, and criminal activity to take place. This is resulting in a declining number of recreational users for whom the area is supposed to be a much-needed “park for all”. Furthermore, plans to extend to extend the fynbos right to the urban edge will only serve to worsen this situation. Additionally, bringing fynbos to the urban edge, increases the risk of fire (through “controlled” burns or otherwise) spreading into residential areas.
How it will be delivered
Via email and, where possible, in person to the Mayor of Cape Town, Alderman Patricia de Lille, the Premier of the Western Cape, Helen Zille, and the Minister of the DEA, the Hon. Edna Molewa.
It will also be sent to Alderman JP Smith, Alderman Felicity Purchase and the Hon. Mark Wiley.