Wojtek Czornij, Camps Bay
The proposal to establish a Camps Bay Improvement District (CID) (“Camps Bay apply for a CID”, Atlantic Sun, August 31) has garnered both support and scepticism among the community’s residents.
While the overarching goal of enhancing security and cleanliness is commendable, it is essential to address the legitimate concerns regarding the operational aspects of the CID and its alignment with Cape Town’s by-laws.
In this comprehensive analysis, we will explore these concerns and offer insights for informed decision-making.
1. Fear-inducing presentation: the presentatIon of the CID business plan was described as excellent at evoking fear, primarily through marketing tactics that included showcasing images of issues like garbage and squatters. While these concerns are valid, the rapid transition from problems to solutions raised questions about the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of the proposed security measures. Specifically, the high cost of security cameras, estimated at R900 000 each, is a point of concern. The budgetary implications need to be clarified for residents to make an informed decision.
2. Lack of clear prevention plans: The tragic incident of a taxi shooting was highlighted during the presentation, but a clear plan to prevent such incidents in the future was not provided. Residents are left wondering about the practical strategies to enhance safety beyond security cameras. Clarity on this issue is crucial to address the community’s concerns.
3. Fee structure: the proposed fee structure, which ties contributions to the valuation of properties, has raised questions about fairness. Comparisons with private security services like ADT, which offer fixed fees regardless of property value, suggest alternative approaches worth exploring. Community members are seeking equitable solutions that do not resemble “communist tactics.”
4. Voting process: The presentation did not clarify the voting process, leaving residents puzzled, especially those living overseas. Given the diverse ownership demographics in Camps Bay, it is essential to provide clear and accessible voting procedures to ensure a representative decision-making process.
5. Manipulative survey questions: The survey conducted before the meeting utilised ambiguous questions about feeling less safe without specifying a timeframe. This vagueness could lead to skewed results, potentially inflating the perception of insecurity. Transparency in survey design is critical to accurately gauge community sentiment.
6. Duplication of services: Concerns have been raised about the potential duplication of services if the CID is implemented. Questions about the impact on existing services, such as the police, law enforcement, and garbage removal, must be addressed to avoid inefficiencies and excessive spending.
Considering the concerns raised, residents should consider the following recommendations:
1. Demand better services: Residents should advocate for improved public services in exchange for the high rates they pay, thereby addressing the root causes of insecurity and cleanliness issues.
2. Strengthen police and emergency response: Encourage the South African Police Service (SAPS) to be more active and responsive to emergency calls, reinforcing the role of law enforcement agencies.
3. Voluntary contribution: If improvements are necessary, explore the possibility of establishing a fixed, voluntary fee per household to fund the specific enhancements, providing residents with an opt-in and opt-out option.
4. Constitutional obligation: It’s understandable that the 40% of residents who voted against the CID might question the necessity of paying extra for services they believe should be provided by the government, a point that could be considered their constitutional right. Additionally, determining what constitutes necessary expenditure can be subjective.
5. Changing or dissolving the CID: It will prove challenging for an average ratepayer without significant resources, requiring a majority vote of 50%+1 among rateable properties. This process involves notifying citizens, organising a vote, and more.
In conclusion, the CID proposal in Camps Bay holds promise for community enhancement, but it also raises valid concerns about long-term commitments, mandatory contributions, and governance structure.
Transparency, accountability, and flexibility must be at the forefront of any CID decision. Residents should be fully informed and engaged in shaping the future of their community, ensuring that any proposed changes align with their values and needs.
If you vote “yes” you are locked in for life with the CID. To opt-out will not be so easy.