Improvement district to tackle crime and grime

29 March 2010

Max PricePartnerships: "While UCT brings great value to the areas surrounding the university, we acknowledge that we also contribute to some of the challenges." - UCT's vice-chancellor, Dr Max Price.

A vibrant and ongoing engagement between "town and gown" to address issues of crime and grime is needed if UCT is to achieve its vision to be a world-class university, says vice-chancellor Dr Max Price, ahead of the imminent establishment of the

UCT is also a founder member and donor to the Groote Schuur Community Improvement District (GSCID) which aims to deal with neighbourhood crime, grime, transport and housing problems that are faced by students, residents and businesses in the area.


UCT has contributed R4.5 million towards the establishment of the GSCID, which aims to address residents' concerns around crime, grime, drug dealing, prostitution, and homelessness along a lengthy strip of the Main Road, from Dean Street in Newlands to Anzio Road in Observatory.

The establishment of the GSCID was mooted after research showed that 61% of local residents don't feel safe in public and believe that cleanliness is a problem.

Even bigger numbers of residents say homelessness (88%) and parking (85%) are serious problems, with drug abuse and dealing accounting for unhappiness among 42% of residents.

While UCT very rarely has contact crime on campus, the situation off-campus is different. The recent deaths of students Pakiso Moqobane and Dominic Giddy have highlighted this problem.

The GSCID will operate under a legal mandate of the City of Cape Town to represent ratepayers' interests in a Special Ratings Area.

There are 18 CIDs in the greater Cape Town area, an indication that the city's residents are taking responsibility to tackle crime happening around them.

The GSCID will have the legal authority to receive a Special Ratings Area levy - over and above normal property rates - which will be used to improve security, cleansing and related urban upgrade services. The GSCID will also seek to provide job opportunities for the homeless.

Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo (seated) with Anthony DaviesCommiting UCT to the Groote Schuur Central Improvement District (GSCID) initiative are UCT deputy vice-chancellor Prof Thandabantu Nhlapo (seated) with Anthony Davies, GSCID.

The effect of these initiatives will be to enhance property values.

The additional levies will be collected from all businesses in the Special Ratings Area by the City of Cape Town and paid over to the GSCID.

The process of establishing the Special Ratings Area started on 4 February with a public meeting. Since then, all businesses in the area have had an opportunity to vote and there is currently a period for objections to be received, which ends on 9 April.

The establishment of the GSCID must be approved by 50% plus one vote from among the commercial property owners, and from UCT who is the major property owner in the area. This has been achieved.

It is envisaged that the GSCID will start operating on 1 July this year.

Price says UCT wants to contribute towards the achievement of a precinct that is safer, cleaner and more enjoyable for residents, businesses and visitors alike.

"While UCT brings great value to the areas surrounding the university, we acknowledge that we also contribute to some of the challenges. UCT, with our neighbours, face issues of crime, grime, transport, housing and so on.

"Our role and responsibility within the local community requires meaningful dialogue between the university and our neighbouring stakeholders. It also demands credible partnerships that recognise our interlinking and, occasionally, divergent sets of interests."

While only owners of commercial properties and UCT will contribute towards the payment of levies, it is envisaged that all residents in the designated area, together with UCT students and staff who live in the area, will benefit from the additional services.

For further information on the GSCID please contact the urban management consultant to UCT, Anthony Davies on 021 671 9462 or 083 264 7010.

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