Drone handed to SANParks to help patrol Table Mountain

  • SANParks has been given a drone that will assist with crime fighting and search and rescue operations around Table Mountain.
  • This continues the trend of Western Cape Municipalities being gifted drones to assist in crime fighting and community safety.
  • While not mentioned by name, the drone appears to, once again, be a DJI Mini 3 based on the price.

At the end of February, the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China gifted four drones to Western Cape municipalities in a bid to assist with policing. Now, South Africa National Parks (SANParks) has received a similar gift.

The mountains in and around Cape Town in the Western Cape are a massive tourist attraction but the swell of tourists that explore the hiking trails and outdoor destinations make it a hunting ground for criminals. Crime is so prevalent in the area that there are several groups dedicated to warning would-be tourists about crime in the area on any particular day.

Now, policing the wilderness that attracts so many to the Cape will be made easier thanks to the provision of a drone.

“Partnerships are key to the successful fight against crime in Table Mountain National Park and the donation of a drone by the Western Cape Government is one such key partnership where we can combine our resources to prevent and tackle criminal activities. The drone will also assist us with aerial surveillance and help our rangers during search and rescue operations,” comments SANParks Manager, Megan Taplin.

The drone is valued at R18 000 per a statement and while the make and model aren’t mentioned, we suspect that this is once again a DJI Mini 3 Pro.

While it is a rather capable piece of kit, it’s maximum flight time (with an upgraded battery) only clocks in at 47 minutes. With this drone meant to help with patrolling Table Mountain, we do feel something beefier was needed here.

The Table Mountain National Park spans 221km2 and a single drone being used in crime prevention and crime fighting feels far too minimal.

With that said, as mentioned last month, a drone is better than no drone. We’re sure that an eye in the sky will assist law enforcement and other authorities from tracking or outright prevent crime.

“Creating safer spaces across the province remains a priority of the WCG. We will continue to incorporate and utilise technology in our war on crime. I am also looking forward to handing over a drone to the Central Karoo district municipality, in due course,” Western Cape Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen, said in a statement.

We appreciate that the Western Cape Government is trying to improve its policing capabilities but we also need to point out that the difference once drone can make is negligible. Beyond that, the DJI Mini 3 doesn’t exactly have what we’d consider crime-fighting features because it’s a consumer-grade drone. As an example, the DJI Mini 3 doesn’t have a thermal camera which would make search and rescue operations rather difficult.

This is a good start but we’d love to see Western Cape Government investing in its own tech that can really make a dent in crime that plagues locals and tourists alike.

[Image – Jean van der Meulen from Pixabay]


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