Recreational users of the Mother City’s most famous landmark have demanded answers to questions about a deluge of surplus revenue that has left the reserve, apparently buckling under a mountain of problems.
Proclaimed in 1998 to conserve the iconic fynbos biome, and run by government entity SANParks (South African National Parks), Table Mountain National Park in 2018/19 earned about R308-million. Key expense items – says environment minister Barbara Creecy’s November 2019 reply to a parliamentary question by the Democratic Alliance – were only R123-million, including R90-million in operation costs.
So, where are the rest of the golden goose’s eggs being fried?
Those eggs – worth a surplus of about R185-million in 2018/19 – could have been directly reinvested into the park, but local campaigners say they have seen scant evidence of that.
“There is an awful lot of money generated by this park that is not coming back into it,” argues Nicky Schmidt, a campaigner with a track record of winning against SANParks in the Supreme Court of Appeal.
And, while “an awful lot of money” might have watered other pastures, an even bulkier amount than 2018/19’s surplus has been spent through procurement irregularities within SANParks, the national parks entity charged with managing 20 parks throughout the country – including the Cape Peninsula’s stunning Table Mountain chain.