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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2007, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
SA's Table Mountain 'needs army'
Table Mountain
Cape Town's 1,086m landmark is known for is flora and fauna
South Africa's military is needed to fight crime on Cape Town's Table Mountain, the city authorities say.

The city's tourism head Simon Grindrod said there had been 15 muggings on the mountain, one of South Africa's most famous landmarks, in the past 14 days.

"Table Mountain is under attack. If the mountain is under attack, we are all under attack," he told the BBC.

Last month, the tourism minister warned that high crime could deter visitors coming to the 2010 football World Cup.

The mountain which looms above Cape Town is one of the most iconic symbols of South Africa.

It draws thousands of tourists who come to walk and climb along its flanks, and many more who catch the cable car to the top.

Table Mountain is the second most popular icon after [Nelson] Mandela
Simon Grindrod

It has 52 rangers patrolling it daily, backed by 200 volunteers, but there is increasing concern that the level of crime will deter tourism.

He said criminals were already using guerilla tactics by hiding in the forbidding terrain and the military were trained and equipped to deal with it.

"The military use this vast national park for training so they could step up patrols and join in with game rangers and police," said Mr Grindrod, who is in charge of tourism for Cape Town's mayor.

He said police resources are being overwhelmed by the rise in crime.

"Table Mountain is the second most popular icon after [Nelson] Mandela; it's the spiritual heart of our city," he said.

Cape Town may attract three million visitors per year by 2010, it is estimated.

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