Cape Town launches tourism safety plans ahead of record festive season

09 Nov 2023 in Where We Govern

The City of Cape Town will deploy its largest ever festive tourism safety operation ahead of expected record-breaking visitor numbers to the Mother City this summer. This includes a special deployment of Tourism Unit personnel to Table Mountain National Park and the CBD. The plan was launched on 8 November together with partners, including the South African Police Services (SAPS), SANparks, CIDs, and neighbourhood watches.

‘We can’t wait to welcome visitors to Cape Town for what is set to be a record-breaking festive tourism season.

‘We want everyone who visits Cape Town to have a safe and good time, because we know how important tourism is to our local economy and the many tens of thousands of local jobs that it supports.

‘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.

‘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 R860m over three years,’ said Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.

A Metropole Integrated Joint Operational Centre (JOC)will be established at the Traffic Management Centre (TMC) in Goodwood, coordinating with four Area JOCs in different parts of the City, integrated beach JOCs, and the SAPS Command Centre.

Cape Town has further established Africa’s largest CCTV surveillance network of over 3 000 cameras, including both public and registered private cameras. The City is also increasingly using drones, including in operations on beaches and around Table Mountain.

To promote safety on highways, the City’s newly-established Highway patrol unit will be monitoring key routes such as the N2 and R300. The unit hit 1 000 arrests in its first year, and uses ‘dashcams’ equipped with Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) tech to identify wanted vehicles and outstanding warrants instantly.

‘Our festive season plan is built around public safety and over time, we’ve expanded the blueprint and our resources to meet the growing demand. Last festive season, our personnel deployed across the metropole executed more than 11 000 operations, working closely with other enforcement and public safety organisations. 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,’ said Alderman JP Smith, the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security.

Cape Town prioritising safety travel advice for visitors

Alderman James Vos, the Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Growth said the City is prioritising safety travel advice for visitors, especially in light of concerning incidents of tourists falling victim to crime after inadvertently ending up in hotspots.

Various safety resources have been produced for visitors by the City’s official destination marketing organisation, Cape Town Tourism (CTT), including:

  • 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. 

‘Our ongoing mission is to ensure the safety of all visitors to our shores, including providing the critical resources people need to stay vigilant and travel wisely. We urge special caution for visitors following a GPS. Our TravelWise website outlines crime hotspot zones to alert visitors, and travellers may also contact CTTs 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 Alderman Vos.

‘Tourism contributes significantly to our provincial economy and job creation which is why every tourist is precious, and we are appalled by the recent violent attacks.  We are working closely with City law enforcement, car hire companies and role-players responsible for the routes near the airport, as well as key tourist areas. We take the safety of residents and visitors in the province very seriously, and have mobilised one of the biggest safety campaigns, through the Law Enforcement Advancement Programme. 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.