Volunteers make Newlands what it is


[There are nearly 50 CID’s in greater Cape Town and they all have one thing in common;  CID’s can deliver enhanced services, over and above standard municipal services, and they can do it in an organised, sustainable and highly localised manner.

1.  The enhanced services to be delivered are set out in a publicly approved business plan.  

2.  The necessary funds are collected by the City via a small levy on top of existing property rates. 

3.  The services are delivered by a non-profit organsisation set up by, and for, the residents of a geographically defined area. ]

Our area has a long history of volunterism and for the past several years volunteer organisations have been delivering an extraordinary range of enhanced service to residents.  It is one of the many things that make this area so special.  

These programmes are becoming more and more difficult to afford and deliver on a volunteer-driven basis.  If we do not find a sustianable model we will lose some or all of them.  That would be bad for the suburb and for the value of the investment we have all made in our propeties.  

After considerable research, we are convinced that forming a Community Improvement District to serve our area with enhanced services is the right way forward.  Not only will it put the area on a firm financial footing, it will take pressure off the volunteer communtiry and enable us increase the services currently being delivered. 

Successful creation of a CID in our area would bring in more funding, more regulalrly and on a sustainable basis.  

The list below includes just some examples of the services which are at risk if we do not recognise the headwinds facing our community and adapt to them.  These are all currently being provided by volunteers and are all funded by a minority of residents. 

Community Security volunteer-driven projects:  

–  NRA’s 24/7 Community Patrols. Needs daily management from volunteers, with responder and supplier interaction

–  NRA’s Community CCTV network.  Camera network hosted by residents which needs daily monitoring by volunteers, supplier and responder interaction.   

–  NRA’s Community License Plate Recognition network. Caemra netowrk registered with the City and require daily interaction with patrollers and wider LPT network, as well as regular interaction with technicians, site hosts, and the City. 

–  Palmboom Road Security private security initiative,  Paterson Road private security initiative, Wheelan Street private security initiative, Paradise Park private security intitiative,  Kildare Circle private security initiative

–  Claremont and Rondebosch SAPS Community Police Forums. Volunteers attend mulitple weekly and monthly meetings.

–  Personal support for individuals who are victims of crime. 

–  Investigation and collection of video footage for SAPS Investigating officers of crimes. 

–  Security team volunteers appear in court as required, as part of crime prosecutions.

–  WhatsApp Security groups.  Management, monitoring and moderation of local security groups

– Volunteers also staff and manage the Newlands Residents Association Neighbourhood Watch.  This is accredited with the Dept of Community Safety, is active every single day and has legislated administrative  requirements such as registrations of patrollers, AGMs, bookkeeping, etc. 

Public safety is the most in-demand and expensive of community needs.  Modern high-tech responses are highly effective but they are costly.   Our community-driven security projects are widely considered to be among the best in the southern suburbs and they have proven to be effective.   

However, they are underpinned by professional patrollers and technology, to which only a minority of our property owners contribute. This limited volunteer susbcription makes them vulnerable to changes in circumstance and severely constrains the ability to launch new projects. 

Enhanced public safety projects are the highest budget priority of any Community Improvement District.  If we can successfully establish a CID, we will be able to do more than now, do it better and be confident that we can do it sustainably into the future. 

Environmental community-driven projects:  

The City’s Recreation and Parks Department are very supportive – but they have limited resources.  It is typically volunteers who actually clear the Green Belt, Papenboom Meadow, Paradise Park and who pick up filthy bedding, clear human waste and cut back overgrown trees and shrubs. 

Not one of our parks would be as safe, clean, or attractive if volunteers were not providing a massively enhanced level of public service.  

It is getting ever harder to stay ahead of the needs and all of these volunteers are short of funds for everything from chemicals to remove graffiti to lawn mower parts.  

Local volunteers get through 500-1,000 donated bin bags per year and this summer a single resident is paying the wages of the park patrol in Paradise Park. This level of goodwill and hand-to-mouth activity is unsustainable.

Some of the volunteer teams out there: 

– The NRA’s Green Team cuts and clears from Newlands Avenue to the M3, including Papenboom Meadow, 

– The Friends of Paradise Park do incredible work in that wonderful space, 

– The Alfred Road Park volunteers have made a completely forgotten space bloom

– The Friends of Kent Road work hard in that jewel of an urban park 

– One older volunteer personally clears green bins on Newlands Avenue and the Green Belt, every day

– Another volunteer gives one day a week to clearing litter and vagrant camps in Papenboom meadow, and to cleaning the Liesbeek

– The NRA employs a litter picker for a day each week to colect litter in our streets and open spaces.   

– The NRA employs a small business to collect aggregated rubbish weekly, including abandoned vagrants camps, and remove them. 

Our area would be a much dirtier place if volunteers, most of them fom an older generation, were not at work in our area.  

Under a CID there is an obligation to budget for Environmental projects and nowhere is this more important than in Newlands. We would be able to develop robust plans safety, planting and recreational use for years ahead.

Ward Committee:  To collaborate with the City and persuade them to deliver services, requires forming relationships. One resident volunteer sits on the Ward 59 Committee witrh our Councillor.  The main reason for this volunteer to sit on the Ward Committee is so that our community’s voice is heard in council.  What is minuted at a Ward level has to be answered.  It is not always easy to work with the Council.  For example, it has taken three years of intense lobbying to get unsafe underpasses closed up to prevent informal encampments settling permanently in our suburb

With a CID we would necessarily have close relations with all City departments.  We would have easier access to decision makers and more influence over decisions affecting our community.

Social Responsibiity: Once of the biggest challenge facing our community is social inequality and in particular vagrancy and roughsleeping.  Homelessness has grown massively in the last few years, it is driver of crime and that growth shows no sign of slowing down.   

This is not an area that we are currently strong in and we can do more and better with a CID.