Plans for safer CBD

2015-04-30 14:45
If all goes according to plan, the Town Centre traders will employ 150 Neighbourhood Watch members as security officials. This photo is for illustration only.
Samantha Lee

If all goes according to plan, the Town Centre traders will employ 150 Neighbourhood Watch members as security officials. This photo is for illustration only. PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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Amemorandum of understanding has been signed so that Neighbourhood Watch members can be deployed as security officials in the Town Centre.

Hawkers based at the business hub hope to see 150 members deployed to the area on a 24-hour basis and steps have been taken to help this become a reality.

Jasmine Harris, deputy chairperson of the CBD sector crime forum, says the memorandum is a result of diligent work by the forum.

“Last year, the chairperson and I approached the police to have security deployed to the Town Centre. Our main concern is the robberies, drug sales and burglaries in the area and we believe that if we have the extra volunteers we can put an end to it,” she says.

Harris says the memorandum makes provision for Neighbourhood Watch members from all over Mitchell’s Plain to be deployed to the area and to be paid a stipend.

“They are not keen on having 24-hour patrols yet because the City of Cape Town is not on board,” she says.

Ward councillor Solomon Philander says he is not aware of the memorandum as he was not “formally invited to be part of this process”.

“Crime is the function of the police. However, I support the partnership. I never received a draft or a copy of the memorandum, therefore I can not give input on this,” he says.

Solomon advises that a security plan is in place for the town centre and acknowledges that there is a crime problem: “The town centre is part of a mayoral urban regeneration programme currently under the chairmanship of Subcouncil chairperson Eddie Andrews. He is coordinating responsible stakeholders as part of the area coordination task team for Mitchell’s Plain. Law enforcement has ten members deployed to the central business district, and I am reconvening the biweekly meeting with the stakeholders responsible for service delivery, including police,” he says.

Andrews says the subcouncil has been approached about crime in the business hub and that it is continuously dealing with it in partnership with stakeholders. He says that he did not receive a formal invitation to the memorandum discussion. However, Andrews agrees that a partnership is beneficial: “Addressing social ills cannot be the responsibility of only the enforcement agencies. The whole of society approach should be adopted which contributes towards eradicating the issue at the core. A partnership to holistically address social ills must, however, include all stakeholders,” he says.

Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson Abie Isaacs says follow-up meetings with roleplayers will take place during the course of this week.

He adds that the CPF has the community’s interest at heart: “The town centre is a business hub. Although we have no business interest, we do have a community interest because the community makes use of the centre,” he says.

Isaacs says the CPF is in the process of engaging with all relevant stakeholders.

“We have already engaged with our Neighbourhood Watch volunteers and they are on board with it. It is now up to the businesses to approach the others with regard to the stipend,” he says.


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