Slow start to service plan

2015-10-06 06:00
BelCraw City Improvement District intends to establish a special rating area in Lansdowne after businesses have been targets of crime. 

Chevon Booysen

BelCraw City Improvement District intends to establish a special rating area in Lansdowne after businesses have been targets of crime. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

A plan to privatise some services in Lansdowne is struggling to get off the ground.

This comes after the BelCraw City Improvement District (CID) launch for its special rating area (SRA) proposal on Friday 25 September was poorly attended.

Initiator Patricia Lemmetjies wanted to use the launch to provide more information on the intended SRA, an effort to curb crime in the area.

According to Lemmetjies, the SRA was to be introduced to Lansdowne businesses.

“The SRA will be focused on businesses and residents and to increase the safety in our area. Our people have had enough and are now asking for solutions, which is why I came up with the idea to establish an SRA for this area,” Lemmetjies says.

In a special rating area property owners contribute additional rates to fund top-up services, such as refuse removal and cleaning. For communities who wish to enjoy municipal services of a higher level an SRA provides the option of paying for additional services.

By pooling their resources in an SRA, it is expected that property owners will enjoy the collective benefits of a well-managed area, a shared sense of communal pride, safety and social responsibility, and access to joint initiatives such as waste recycling and energy-efficiency programmes. In the end, an SRA could boost property values.

Lemmetjies says the Lansdowne SRA will be privatised after BelCraw CID was told its application was “submitted too late”.

Verita Lesar, administration officer for the BelCraw CID, says: “We went to the City of Cape Town and they told us they could only implement this during 2017. However, our business cannot wait that long, they want to start straight away. So now they want to privatise it by financing it.”

She adds crime has been escalating in the area and businesses have been the targets of criminals. Lesar says a steering committee for businesses in the area has not yet been elected but is in the process of being created.

“Businesses are not coming on board yet as they first want to see business plans and a final product before they sign up. They don’t want to get involved with the nitty gritty things. However, we need their support in the whole process.”However, Ian Neilson, mayoral committee member for finance, denies that the City has received an application from BelCraw for the establishment of an SRA.

“Lemmetjies accompanied a steering committee from the industrial area in Lansdowne to an information-sharing session with officials from the City’s inter-services liaison department on the establishment of a Special Rating Area. To date, the proposed boundaries to determine the area have not been submitted. This is required for officials to model whether an SRA could be feasible. Only after this modelling is done, can consent be sought from the majority of the property owners, as required, and can an application be submitted for the council to consider,” Neilson says.

He adds that “there is no set time limit for an SRA application. It would depend on the specific case. Property owners (not a homeowners or ratepayers’ association) from a specific area form a steering committee and contact the City for a meeting, where they will be provided with the most recent information regarding SRAs.

“Once the steering committee decides to pursue the establishment of an SRA, they must provide the City with a map depicting the area of the proposed SRA. An arrears profile is done of the area and, if found to be satisfactory, the establishment process is allowed to continue,” Neilson elaborates. Neilson adds properties receiving rates rebates are excluded from paying the additional rate and therefore, have no vote to either support or reject the formation of the SRA.

“Once the application is lodged, it will be advertised in the newspapers and all affected property owners will receive a notification of the application. SRAs are established by property owners for property owners. It is not a legal requirement that civic organisations be consulted during the establishment of an SRA but civic organisations, who are property owners, must be consulted. This means those who will end up paying for the top-up services must be consulted.”

Asked whether an SRA can be privatised, Neilson says: “When a private initiative is established it will collect its own revenue, set its own budgets and not be subjected to the legal framework of SRAs. It therefore cannot be classified as or be called a special rating area. Also, property owners cannot be forced to contribute to such a private initiative, but would only do so voluntarily.”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.