Heritage on lockdown

Security measures at the Company’s Garden are under assessment, after incidents of theft and vandalism have seen heritage items stolen from or damaged at the historical site.

JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services, confirmed two incidents of “theft and vandalism of heritage items at the Company’s Garden over the last year”. During these incidents, the sundial (a heritage item) was stolen, the copper plate at the entrance to the garden was stolen, the small fountain was stolen, the lion’s heads on the Thorne Fountain (a heritage item) were vandalised and the water pipe at one of the statues was damaged.

Smith adds that items mostly “containing copper, brass or valuable items such as heritage pieces or plants” are targeted.

The cost of the incidents is still to be determined, Smith says.

“Determining the cost of replacing/repairing heritage items requires a specialist assessment. The Recreation and Parks Department will consult a heritage specialist to advise on the costs involved,” he says.

“The heritage specialist will also be required to do an assessment to determine the current monetary value of the vandalised items.”

The incidents took place despite security guards at the facility both during the day and at night.

“The Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) also assists with additional security personnel during the day. Unfortunately, the facility is huge and difficult to secure. It is also not sustainable to just increase the number of security guards as the cost is so high,” Smith states.

The Company’s Garden Steering Committee has now made plans to “assess the area where all the heritage items are located in the garden”, Smith explains.

“Possible interventions to increase security of these items include installing adequate lighting in each area to improve visibility and/or installing CCTV cameras that link directly to the City’s security control room. The [Parks and Recreation Department] will consider all these options within the current resource constraints,” he says.

“The steering committee’s assessments have already begun, with support from the CCID. The implementation phase will take place once the necessary budget becomes available.”

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