“There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes that people don’t know about, but we just get on with it.”
Barbara Breedt, general manager of the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District (GSCID), shared the non-profit company’s (NPC) accomplishments in the past financial year at the GSCID Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the Belmont Square Conference Centre on Thursday 18 November.
Covering a district that mostly consists of businesses – stretching from Letterstedt Road in Claremont to Anzio Road in Observatory – the CID focuses its efforts on addressing four pillars: public safety, social, cleansing and environmental upgrade.
Of these, Breedt said, security was probably the most important one. In the past financial year, the GSCID assisted the police with 14 arrests and reported 695 incidents of crime.
“We work very closely with the police and we have a dedicated law enforcement official in our area as well... Our guys are quite aware, the eyes and ears on the ground. So they are there when things happen,” she said
According to Breedt, the implementation and management of the GSCID’s licence plate recognition (LPR) camera system had delivered impressive results.
“We are one of the only CIDs that has appointed a person that operates and monitors the LPR cameras. The cameras have proved to be very successful in assisting the police in making good arrests in our area and also on our boundaries.”
Thanks to intelligence provided by the cameras, police stations in and around the CID’s coverage area were assisted in affecting 198 arrests and recovering 36 stolen or hijacked vehicles.
On the social side, Breedt said the partnership with the Chrysalis Academy – a leadership development organisation that works with young people – was a win-win relationship. While interns helped to put more feet on the ground, they in turn were provided with additional training and job opportunities.
Every six months, the CID receives new interns.
Breedt said, in the past financial year, four interns attended a skills and discipline workshop at Gangstar Cafe. Located in Mowbray, the coffee shop offers training and employment opportunities to previously incarcerated youth to break the cycle of re-offending.
In addition, three interns received permanent employment with the NPC and one intern is in training to be a field worker with the guidance of the GSCID social outreach manager, Ingrid Frieslaar.
Another community development project spearheaded by the GSCID which “is working” is its social development programme launched in January this year.
With Frieslaar at the helm, the programme targets the homeless living within the CID’s boundaries. Currently, there are 25 people in the programme.
Breedt said the aim of the programme was to upskill, develop and uplift those less fortunate by giving them an opportunity to earn an income in a dignified manner while learning new life skills and, at times, finding them a place to stay.
Breedt said they had partnered with Gangstar Cafe and Haven night shelter managers.
“These partnerships have allowed us to offer our participants skill development workshops as well as assistance with obtaining bed space in the shelters,” added Breedt.
This past financial year also marked the start of GSCID’s partnership with a new cleaning service provider, Securitas. The provider serves as a “top-up” to services rendered by the City of Cape Town. “We only clean the Main Road, and the first lamp pole up the side streets but there is a lot of dumping. People throw out beds, or mattresses and couches,” she says, adding that sometimes they go further to ensure cleanliness.