EDITORIAL | Sad security saga affects Ironman
This weekend, the eyes of the triathlon sporting world are on Nelson Mandela Bay as thousands of athletes take on the Ironman African championships on Sunday. They bring with them family and supporters, many eager to soak up the attractions of this region before and after race day.It is therefore a huge relief that security at the region’s numerous heritage and tourism sites and other public areas will be beefed up. It cannot come too soon.However, it is extremely disconcerting to realise what a void there has recently been at several tourism attractions, and Summerstrand’s gem of Cape Recife Nature Reserve is the latest to be in the spotlight for its lack of security.Weekend Post today reports the reserve has had no access control for the past three months, with no security guard checking the required permits at the entrance.The reserve is not only popular with Bay residents and houses Sanccob’s marine bird rehabilitation centre, but is also a tourist attraction for visitors from elsewhere.Unfortunately it is not the only tourist site which has suffered, as inquiries show that guards were also withdrawn from the Campanile and Fort Frederick in January.In addition to the Bay’s obvious attractions of beaches and restaurants, these spots are precisely the kinds of places the crowds this weekend may have liked to visit.The issue is not whether the municipal security contract should have been cancelled or not – it is rather that it was cancelled without a suitable alternative security plan in place.Locals as well as tourists are now at increased risk of mugging and theft and there is also the risk of sites being vandalised.The city’s acting municipal manager has promised this is temporary. That is good to hear – but what a shame it could not have been put right for Ironman weekend.