MID Public Safety Statement

The MID Board takes public safety very seriously. Our directors serve the MID as volunteers because we care deeply about the future and well-being of  Muizenberg and want to feel safe as much as any other resident does.

We spend many hours applying our minds to solutions, listening to inputs from community members, working with our service providers, learning from other improvement districts, consulting with our partners at the City of Cape Town and with experts in this field.

Our problem is many property owners who approach our directors or manager are unaware of what a Special Ratings Area (SRA) like the MID is and what its role should be in relation to crime.

As a starting point for engagement, we believe it is reasonable to ask that property owners acquaint themselves with this information so that our interaction with you can be factual and focused, given we all want the same outcome.

What an SRA is:

The Muizenberg Improvement District is a legal entity established under the City of Cape Town’s Special Rating Areas by-law.  A Special Rating Area (SRA) is a non-profit company in a defined geographic area where property owners have agreed to pay for extra top-up services aimed at more effective management of public areas that make the district safer and more attractive.

The City still provides residents in improvement districts with services like water, sanitation and refuse removal. SAPS and Metro Police must still police; and Law Enforcement must still enforce the law. None of that changes but now, in addition, you have an Improvement District putting focused pressure on the City and working with its departments to act on the things that need to be fixed or improved.

See the MID website for more about the way the MID manages cleaning, infrastructural upgrades and issues like problem buildings. Please also read this insightful article which gives a good overview of our approach: http://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/492/140876.html

Who is the MID accountable to?

The MID is required to follow a framework prescribed by  law. In terms of Governance and Finance, the MID reports to the Manager: Inter-Services Liaison (ISL), Finance Directorate, City of Cape Town. The services provided by the MID are defined in an Implementation Plan approved by its members and submitted to council together with a Business Plan and a 5 year budget. These can be viewed on the MID website.

By pulling together their resources in a SRA (or Improvement District) individual property owners can enjoy the collective benefits of a well-managed area; a shared sense of communal pride; and access to joint initiatives like clean-up campaigns and joint operations to curb crime. All property owners can and should become active members of the MID. There is no additional charge and joining is as simple as filling in a membership form – get it here: http://www.mid.org.za/wp-content/uploads/MID-Membership-Application2.pdf Tenants can also represent their landlords by obtaining a signed proxy.

The resources and boundary of the MID:

The MID receives levies from all the properties within the defined area of the Muizenberg Improvement District which is just under half a square kilometer. These levy amounts are based on property values and are determined and collected by the City of Cape Town. The Muizenberg Improvement District extends from the Beachfront down Vlei and Main Roads to Albertyn Road. For more detail please see the MID website http://www.mid.org.za/operational-map/

Because the MID is one of the smallest improvement districts in the Western Cape, we have to be particularly innovative and resourceful with the allocation of funds. The annual budget is 1,4 Million and half of that is spent on Public Safety.

The framework and protocols for Public Safety in the MID:

This section was updated on 26 July 2016 following a meeting on 19 July 2016 between the MID Board, concerned MID members and our partners from ISL at the City of Cape Town

The most important fact is that the public safety services of an improvement district are only for public space. The top-up public safety measures provided by the MID are focused on making it safe for people to walk in the streets and enjoy public spaces. These services do not replace the services already provided by SAPS, Law Enforcement and Metro Police.

Many of the complaints we receive are about break ins at residents’ homes. Levy payers are acting on a false premise if they expect the top-up public safety patrols to protect them inside their private properties. Public Safety Patrollers contracted to an improvement district may not enter private properties in pursuit of suspicious people or for any other reason. Residents are entirely responsible for the security of their own homes and should sign up with a private security company if they want additional protection.

Public Safety Patrollers contracted to an improvement district are not permitted to perform lethally armed or physically-aggressive response. The City of Cape Town’s Safety and Security Directorate has made it clear that SRAs should use City appointed officials to enforce its by-laws in public space. Crime prevention functions are clearly stated in the applicable legislation and as such the City cannot outsource armed response to SRAs and their public safety service providers.

This legal opinion is based on the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and the South African Police Services Act. It advocates that SRAs do not prescribe armed response for their Public Safety service providers. SRAs should further stipulate in contracts that any need for back-up of Public Safety officers should be based on an assessment by the appointed Public Safety Service Provider.

The use of non-lethal weapons by Public Safety officers and their backup teams is supported, as well as close cooperation with the local SAPS, City Law Enforcement Services, Community Police Forums and Neighbourhood Watches. This is to ensure that Public Safety firms provide a suitable level of service while not overstepping their role by taking on functions which SAPS or Municipal Police are responsible for.

Each month the MID patrollers handle over 500 public safety incidents and duties and act as a visible deterrent to crime. These services do not replace the services already provided by SAPS, Law Enforcement and Metro Police.

Public Safety services in a SRA are primarily there to mobilise joint safety operations; to monitor trends; to collaborate with SAPS, City Law Enforcement and Neighbourhood Watch groups; and to work with the city to better manage problem buildings and the social issues of vagrants and street people which also impact on the public safety of a community.

Right now the MID is meeting all the requirements that we set out to achieve in our implementation plan through our Ops Forum, Incident management and analysis, collaboration with key stakeholders; and regular interaction and meetings with our Public Safety service provider. The only thing that has changed is the board decision to donate the MID CCTV equipment to MCSI (Muizenberg Community Safety Initiative / Neighbourhood Watch). This is part of the bigger strategy in terms of resource collaboration.

 

Questions asked about the MID Public Safety Contract:

Why are the Mountain Men not handling Public Safety for the MID?

Answer: They were invited and encouraged to submit a proposal and did not. Therefore we could not consider them as a potential service provider.

Is the MID planning to invite expressions of interest again when the current contract expires?

Answer:  This is something we will consider. If a number of service providers compete with each other to offer optimal services at the best prices; or even work together to come up with new, smarter solutions, the MID could obtain more impact for the money it spends. We are open to this. Unfortunately, in April 2015 only two companies submitted proposals for the new contract. Please view the service provider procurement process here: http://www.mid.org.za/news/mid-invites-eoi-for-public-safety-security/

10 Key gripes from the Community:

As MID directors, we’ve gone through the complaints and concerns we have received and have identified 10 Key Gripes about Public Safety:

  • Route and clock in locations are too predictable
  • Control room is useless – Want to phone the patrol vehicle directly
  • Want Foot patrols
  • Patrollers drive around with windows up – not scanning their environment
  • Poor response times
  • Gap in patrolling during the daily shift handover
  • Patrollers are not assertive enough when they deal with public safety incidents
  • Don’t seem to have a close working relationship with LE and SAPS
  • Not visible enough on the beachfront – Car Guard Problems
  • They should use more force / be armed

Some of these gripes relate to Service provider performance and others relate to finding intelligent solutions within the constraints of the legal framework the MID operates in.

We’ve taken the gripes to our Service provider and asked them: “What can you do to bolster up your presence?” Where things can be fixed, they need to be fixed.

If this is not possible the MID needs to consider its options and your thoughtful input as members is welcomed and encouraged.

All members, residents and business owners in the MID are invited to attend the public session of our monthly board meetings. See dates for the Board Meetings here

Thank you

The MID BOARD