At the beginning of May Councillor Eddie Andrews invited the Special Ratings Areas (“Improvement Districts”), in his area, to get together and brief him on:

  • What’s working
  • What’s not working
  • Long outstanding issues
  • Recommendations

The appointment of mini-mayors in January 2017 forms part of the City’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (ODTP), which aims to improve the consultative process between the city council and the residents of Cape Town, and to facilitate service delivery.

It was no easy task to convey the complexity and diversity that is Muizenberg in less than 10 minutes (!), but it was an important opportunity to highlight how MID is continually engaging with the City’s departments on issues and their potential solutions, and to draw attention to some of the key challenges that continue to require additional attention and City resources.

Homelessness & Vagrancy

Some of the key contributing factors highlighted were a lack of shelters or care facilities, a lack of ablution facilities, economic opportunities provided by the popularity of the area, combined with uninformed and irresponsible giving by members of the public, insufficient support from law enforcement and SAPS and a specific set of problem buildings including some that are city property such as the Park, the Pavillion, and Atlantic Road.

MID drives as many initiatives as possible on the limited budget available for social development, including weekly social work consultations, as a result of which many homeless are reunited with family, or helped to access City facilities like shelters, specialized counselling, and job opportunities through local non-profit organizations. The MID social worker and field workers also carry out as many pro-active interventions as possible – but there is a need for a speedier turnaround from the City on setting these up, as specific resources are required to be present and plans have to be laid in advance for any follow-up actions required.

The SRA Forum has been requesting that the City define a memorandum of understanding between City Departments, such as Social Development, and Special Ratings Areas like Muizenberg Improvement District, as it is a common misconception that MID is the principal service provider in this area. In reality MID has a small budget for Social Development which is largely aimed at facilitating access to City and Provincial services:

On the topic of City property management, various properties were put forward as very suitable for housing local shelters in 2014 – including the property on Main Road that has subsequently been allocated to the Traffic Department. These proposals were, however, not supported by the relevant departments affected and therefore the issue remains: where can the homeless go to from here? There are some improvements to City properties in the area that would also have a very positive impact on the challenges presented with the occupation of recreational facilities and suspicious activity, if effected, such as the proposed fencing of Muizenberg Park so that bylaws can be enforced more effectively.

Informal car guards

The main contributing factor here is that the beachfront and surrounds represent a particularly good economic opportunity until late at night, and this results in many car guards sleeping overnight in the area as well as working by day. Some car guards have been linked to suspicious activity, and they not only represent a threat to the general public but also to vulnerable children on the streets. There is a general lack of follow-through from Law Enforcement when bylaws have been transgressed, and members of the public tend not to report or follow-through on incidents of harassment.

MID Public Safety intervenes whenever car guards become aggressive, and SAPS has conducted some operations to identify who is car guarding in the area and whether they have outstanding warrants of arrest against them.

In the long-term, however, MID would want the City to reconsider Muizenberg as one of the areas that has City Managed Parking as this has been shown to work well in reducing this kind of informal economic activity in other areas. Alternatively, the City could look at car guarding as a formal economic activity, which would then allow for policies to be put in place so that car guards could be held accountable for the areas that they work in.

Vulnerable street kids

Children end up on Muizenberg’s streets for a variety of reasons from economic opportunity to problems at home or in the community. There is not a lot of follow up by the Western Cape Education Department on cases of truancy and so often this situation is allowed to perpetuate, placing the child in a dangerous situations where he or she is exposed to substance abuse or taken advantage of by adults in any number of ways.

Possibilities for intervention my unauthorised persons are very limited due to the restrictions imposed by the Children’s Act and related laws. MID would like to work more closely with the Department of Social Development to increase the number of interventions run and facilitate service delivery for this sensitive group.

It is also important that awareness is raised amongst the community about how to report truancy – for example if a surf school notices a child of school-going age surfing when they should be in class: this can be an important part of closing the loop and helping draw the attention of the authorities and the parents to a potential problem so that it can be addressed early on.


Despite these challenges and a limited budget MID continues to make a significant impact:

These SRA’s will be meeting with Councillor Eddie Andrews on a regular basis and it is hoped that through this forum at least some of the more pressing issues can be unpacked and viable solutions negotiated and implemented in collaboration with the City.

In addition, a Councillor will be appointed to attend MID Board Meetings as an observer, in order to become familiar with the work MID is doing and offer guidance and facilitate connections to the right decision makers and drivers within the City structures, while also ensuring that the MID is kept abreast of any changes within the City structures that impacts on its mandate or implementation plans.


About MID:

The Muizenberg Improvement District [MID] is a geographic area where property owners have contracted to pay a levy to facilitate a joint effort by the City of Cape Town and the local community to ensure more effective management of public areas and to promote business confidence.The MID supplements normal municipal services provided by the City, using its funds to deal with public safety, enhance the environment and address social issues like vagrancy and finding workable solutions for the homeless. The Muizenberg Improvement District is a legal entity established under the City’s Special Rating Areas by-law and also governed by the South African Companies Act 2008.