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somerset west cid

Working together with residents, local businesses and urban management specialists to create a rich urban environment where the Somerset West community can thrive, we – the Somerset West City Improvement District – welcome 2024 with the new challenges and opportunities it will provide. Together with the City of Cape Town, our partners, outreach initiatives and you, we will continue to strive towards reinvigorating our urban environment.

Aligned in our collective mission, we are committed to cultivating a thriving urban ecosystem that is safe, accessible and inviting to all the workers, visitors and community members of our district. We are unwavering in our commitment to the property and business owners of our area and intend to consolidate and elevate our services based on the successes of last year.

Please feel free to contact us at any time with queries or concerns and be reminded of our 24-hour security control room number for public safety incidents.

For Public Safety Emergencies Contact

24-hour Geocentric Control Room: 021 565 0900

Let’s embark on this journey together, embracing the challenges and opportunities that 2024 presents, as we collectively shape the future of our Somerset West community. Together we can create a stable, safe, clean area that is prosperous for our community both economically and socially.

Safety & Fire During the Hot, Dry and Windy Cape Town Summer Months

Cape Town fire season occurs from November through May. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe.

Cape Town is notoriously prone to wildfires that occur in natural vegetation when it is hot and dry in the summer months, which coincide with the windy season – creating ideal conditions for wildfires to occur and quickly get out of control. This season has already been earmarked to be the worst fire season in 8 years.

Cape Town fires are particularly common in the Table Mountain National Park due to the natural conditions in our fynbos ecosystem. But, homes and businesses are not exempt from danger, as any fire can spread quickly and far – up to tens of kilometres from the source. It is most important to keep your home, family and business safe, protecting life and property, as our urban living spaces share a boundary with the national parks in many parts of Cape Town and the Western Cape.

By 18 January 2024, there had been a total of 22 new fire incidents, with SANParks firefighting teams demonstrating swift response and effective containment. This influx has occurred particularly in the southern section of Table Mountain National Park, in Kalk Bay, Oceanview and Red Hill areas, as well as in the north of the park, in the Signal Hill and Pipe Track areas, posing significant risk to the communities living adjacent to the park, particularly with hot temperatures and strong wind conditions being experienced.

Fire Safety Precautions & Interventions

In Cape Town, there are various organisations in place to manage fire safety and interventions that should be taken, both to avoid fire and to control it when it happens. 

Home and work checklist for fire safety

  • Always have a “grab bag” with your important documents in it such as birth certificates and passports.
  • Make sure that all your insurance documents and other important documentation are backed up securely to the cloud.
  • Assign tasks to family members or staff such as placing pets or kids in the car and driving them to safety at a friend’s house out of smoke danger.
  • Run fire drills so that everyone is prepared in an emergency.
  • If you need to stay and help fight fires, cover your head, nose and mouth and protect your eyes with goggles. Wear good shoes and gloves.
  • Wetting the roof and gutters can stop hot ash from burning the roof.
  • Keep grass cut as short grass helps slow down fire.
  • Keep a hose pipe rolled up and ready to put out fires.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in kitchens and train staff or family members how to use it.
  • If you volunteer on the mountain in a wildfire, take a spade  –  this helps to beat out fire or throw sand on smouldering grass tufts.
  • Always remember, your safety is first and if you are not properly trained, call for assistance. 

Each year, the City of Cape Town’s Fire and Rescue Service contracts the use of two Huey helicopters and a Cessna 182 spotter plane to support its firefighting efforts. These aircraft allow for mountain wildfires to be combated in inaccessible areas that pose a serious risk to property and life.

For the first time since using the aerial appliances, they are now branded this season, clearly identifiable as City resources.

Emergency & Contact information

Fire and Rescue Service Department

24-hour emergencies:

Telephone: 107 (landline) or 021 480 7700 (cellphone)

General fire safety enquiries:

Telephone: 021 590 1971 / 021 590 1975

To report a fire in the Table Mountain National Park

Please call:

  • Hotline: 086 110 6417 or
  • The City’s Regional Fire Control No: (021) 590 1900
  • Newlands Fire Base: Tel: +27(0) 21 689 7438

Fire Prevention Tips

There are simple preventatives we can all pay heed to – such as not lighting a fire or braai on a hot and windy day, and never extinguishing a cigarette out of doors, such as out of a car window, in grass or when hiking.

For property owners, ember-proofing any area requires the removal of all flammable plants up to 7m from a building, as well as overhanging branches. Checking and cleaning gutters and roofing for debris is important too. 

Other interventions that you can implement on a larger scale include considering your construction materials if you are remodelling and supplementing them for fire-resistant alternatives. You should also ensure full continued compliance with all local and national fire safety codes and think about installing fire protection systems such as overhead sprinklers. 

Unfortunately, despite all the precautions, a fire can happen to any size business at any time. That is why protecting your employees and your property should be a top priority. Following the above steps will help you avoid any fires breaking out and minimise fire-related damages. While there may be no such thing as truly “fireproof,” these guidelines are an excellent starting point for safeguarding your business. 

Resources

Western Cape Government

City of Cape Town

Sanparks

Facebook

New planter boxes alongside Helderberg Village Centre

This October, we hold our Annual General Meeting (AGM 2023) to review the year’s activities and begin our planning for 2024/25. We hope all our members can attend. Non-members still have time to register. The new City of Cape Town CID by-law and policy came into effect on 1 July and that is available to view online.

The recent bout of storms and cold fronts experienced in the Cape have certainly added to the work of the CIDs, in particular in the way of road maintenance and fallen trees. We’d like to remind you at this time to assist us in providing effective service by logging a service request for any faults encountered.

Lastly, our CID has undertaken several urban beautification projects this Spring, adding greenery and cleaning up public areas of Somerset West. And, we have an update on the Public Transport Interchange (PTI) due for completion next year.

Read more below.

Our AGM 2023 is coming up

All stakeholders are invited to a review of the year’s activities and planning for 2024/25.

Resolutions presented at the AGM can only be voted for by bonafide members. All non-members wishing to take part must be registered before 9 October.

View all AGM documents here.

AGM Details

Wednesday, 18 October 2023, 15:00

The Farm House Coffee Shop Restaurant, The Trading Post Centre, 53 Caledon Street, Corner of Caledon and Myburgh Street, Somerset West.

RSVP to info@swcid.co.za

New CID By-law Policy

The new CID by-law policy came into effect from 1 July, which serves “To provide for the establishment of City Improvement Districts; to provide for additional rates; and to provide for matters incidental thereto.”

The City of Cape Town’s by-law and policy regarding the establishment and management of City Improvement Districts has gone through several iterations over the years since the concept of a CID was first tested in the year 2000.

The latest revisions of the by-law and policy comes as more than 50 CIDs are now in operation.

The by-law is available to download online here at openbylaws.org.za.

New planters for Somerset West CID

Spring greening Somerset West

A project that has been jointly provided by the Helderberg Village Centre, the Somerset West CID has made new planter boxes that are situated in Drama Street between Main Road and Caledon Street, paid for by the Helderberg Village Centre.

The planter boxes, which have been planted with greenery and installed by the CID, serve multiple purposes – the primary one being to beautify the area, adding greenery and life to a dull side road. Secondarily, the wide sidewalks have often in the past been used for illegal parking, blocking the accessibility of pedestrians and creating the opportunity for vagrants to urinate on the sidewalks next to the public shopping centre.

Turning a negative situation into an opportunity to create a more aesthetically pleasing environment for the public, the planter boxes prevent people from parking on the sidewalk and the antisocial behaviour around this.

The Somerset West CID are the custodians of the planter boxes and regularly water and maintain the plants.

Update on the public transport interchange (PTI) construction

Nearing completion in Q1 2024, the Public Transport Interchange (PTI) construction is well underway. The contractor has shared an update, stating that the completion date is still 18 March 2024, in spite of challenges faced including inclement weather and the taxi strike. The construction company has employed 15 local workers, including client liaison officer. The contractor would like to thank the community for working with us.

Logging a service request with the City

You too can assist with urban management and the growing number of faults and service requests that the City and our CID deal with on a daily basis. By reporting water and electricity faults and other maintenance requirements such as potholes, missing road signs or blocked stormwater drains, through the correct channels, we and the City are able to attend to these service requests and log their status in an effective way.

There are multiple channels through which you can do this – the easiest being the online portal at capetown.gov.za/servicerequests, which is also now available in the City of Cape Town mobile app.

View all the steps to log a service request on the flyers below.

Cape Town winter storm

As the chilly and wet winter season approaches, it’s time to prepare ourselves for the unique challenges and delights that it brings.

From the brisk air to the rain-soaked streets, Cape Town winter demands our attention and readiness. Here, we explore practical tips to help you navigate the winter months with ease. From maintaining your home and business’ functionality to prioritising safety on the roads, these essential suggestions will ensure you’re well-prepared to go with the flow this winter. Let’s dive in and discover how to make the most of the wet season while keeping everything running smoothly.

Cape Town winter readiness tips

Read more
Somerset West Improvement District 2022

2022 has been a year for celebrating successes for Somerset West Improvement District and tackling new and ongoing challenges. With our new five-year business plan term commencing in July 2022 we renew our commitment to providing top-up services to the City of Cape Town with a special focus on public safety, urban cleaning and management, continuing to lead the charge in the continual improvement of Somerset West as a residential and business area.

As we round up 2022 following our recent AGM held in November, we recap on the year’s work, successes and statistics.

Somerset West Improvement District’s achievements of the last year are a testament to the team’s commitment, experience and increased on-the-ground presence  –  led by the capable hands of Geocentric, who have been working with city improvement district initiatives since 2001 and responsible for a total of thirteen of Cape Town’s improvement districts from Salt River through to Strand, Tyger Valley and Wynberg.

“The rollercoasting aftermath of Covid lockdowns steadily calmed down in 2022, yet conditions remained difficult as significant increases in the cost of living and the continuous challenges of load-shedding remained at the forefront,” says Gene Lohrentz, director of Geocentric.

“In the face of these new challenges, the Somerset West Improvement District board and management team have remained steadfast in our commitment to providing high-quality top-up services in Somerset West. Embracing and implementing adaptability into our vision now seems entrenched in our day-to-day operations as well as our strategic thinking.”

2022 Somerset West Improvement District stats

Stay safe this festive season

From increased fire hazards in Cape Town to countrywide holiday travel to seasonal crime spikes, there are many reasons to up our vigilance these summer months and to take the necessary precautions to stay safe.

Home and Work Checklist for Fire Safety

  • Ember-proofing any area, requires the removal of all flammable plants up to 7m from a building, as well as overhanging branches. Checking and cleaning gutters and roofing for debris is important too. 
  • Always remember, your safety is first and if you are not properly trained, call for assistance. 
  • Make sure that all your insurance documents and other important documentation are backed up securely to the cloud.
  • Assign tasks to staff and run fire drills so that everyone is prepared in an emergency.
  • If you need to stay and help fight fires, cover your head, nose and mouth and protect your eyes with goggles. Wear good shoes and gloves.
  • If you have access to water, wet the roof and gutters to stop hot ash from burning the roof.
  • Keep grass cut as short as possible as it helps slow the fire.
  • Keep a hose pipe rolled up and ready.
  • Keep fire extinguishers around that are regularly maintained and train your staff on how to use them safely and correctly.

Safety Tips To Prevent Property Crime

  • Ensure your property can be secured properly. This includes checking all locks, gates, doors, windows and roller shutters.
  • Ensure there are no gaps in your fence or perimeter wall or unintentional points of access to your business or home that may need additional security.
  • Make sure all bushes or trees close to your walls, gates and fences are trimmed, to avoid the possibility of intruders hiding or using them to access your property.
  • Adequate lighting around the perimeter of your property acts as a good deterrent
  • Connecting outdoor lights to timers and motion sensors act as an additional deterrent.
  • Have an alarm installed by a reputable security company with armed response.
  • The key to effective security lies in being able to detect a potential intruder before they gain access. Adding detection beams and sensors of electrical fences vastly contributes to property security
  • Ensure your alarm is in working order. Business and property owners should test their alarms at least once a month and should the system require servicing this should be arranged as early as possible.
  • Please ensure that all the key holder information is available and ensure that key holders are available and able to come out to the property should the alarm activate, and checking be required.
  • Don’t leave ladders, spades or tools outside as these can be excellent break-in tools.
  • Ensure that remote controls for automatic gates and garage doors are not left lying around.
  • Always be alert to vehicles or persons following you into your entrance or the parking area.

Road safety tips

  • Check your vehicle before travelling long distances  –  including tyre tread and pressure, oil and water, wind-screen wipers, headlights and brakelights and ensure your spare tyre, jack and emergency warning triangle are all intact and stored in your vehicle
  • Leave early to be prepared for road congestion during busy periods
  • Take breaks to avoid road fatigue which can cause accidents
  • Be aware of pedestrians particularly when passing broken down vehicles or public transport
  • Never drink and drive

Read more

Contact details

As the year draws to a close we remind you once again of our important contact details to report emergencies and incidents.

For Public Safety Emergencies contact our 24-hour control room

  • 021 565 0900 – Geocentric Control Room 

Emergency numbers

  • 10111 – SAPS (South African Police Services)
  • 107 – City of Cape Town Disaster Management

City Of Cape Town

  • General Enquiries: 0860 103 089 – Sms 31220 (Electricity)
  • Cable Theft: 0800 222 771
  • Roads And Stormwater: 0800 656 463 – Sms 31373
  • Metro Police & Traffic: 0860 765 423

Visit our Contact page for more details and  capetown.gov.za for more City of Cape Town Emergency Numbers.

Join our WhatsApp Community Group

If you are curious about the work we do and want to stay up to date with the latest developments in your improvement district, you will be able to join our SWCID business WhatsApp group by:

• Sending a WhatsApp message to 081 869 8911

• You will need to include your Name and Surname or the name of your business

• You will need to include your street address which should be within the boundary of the Somerset West Improvement District

• We will add you to the Somerset West Improvement District Community Group

Rules and regulations for communicating will be stipulated in the group.

The Geocentric Urban Management Trolley Project was initiated in 2017. 

The aim of the project is to provide urban cleaning and maintenance teams with a platform to improve their daily tasks, assist with moving of equipment and tools and enable recycling while performing their tasks. 

A few design considerations were introduced into the design of the trolley including 

  • The ability to move heavy loads of litter or recycling from one point to another without effort or potential injury 
  • Create high visibility for the cleaning and maintenance teams 
  • Have quick and easy access to tools and equipment 
  • The ability, even when fully loaded, to easy ascend and descend kerbs and sidewalks 
  • Be able to separate waste as they work to support the recycling initiative 

To achieve some of these design principles, Geocentric looked at simple solutions from other designs, for example, the stair-climbing suitcases used by so many travellers.  By scaling up the design for the urban management trolleys, we could produce a sidewalk and pavement climbing trolley where the urban management worker needs minimum effort to get onto and off pavements to perform their duties.  

(See photos of step 1, 2 and 3 illustrating this concept.) 

step1

step2

step3

The trolleys were also designed to be pushed from any side with key tools located in the middle so that it is in fact easy to use it for a two-man team operation.  On each side of the trolley a plastic tool box allows storage for small tools. 

Recyclables like tin cans, glass and plastic bottles are collected by the urban management workers throughout the day as they clean the streets and public spaces and at the end of each day they separate the items into baskets whereafter Geocentric recycles the items. 

trolley 4

trolley 5

This is another way in which we make CID operations more sustainable and environmentally friendly as we prevent a vast amount of waste from simply going to landfills. 

trolley 6

Geocentric have rolled out these trollies in the Elsies River and Beaconvale City Improvement Districts and plan to roll them out to all the other CIDs under Geocentric management through the course of 2018. 

 

In collaboration with the CCT

In collaboration with the CCT’s Law Enforcement Officer assigned to the SWCID, Secure Rite as service provider to the SWCID conducts a variety of operations aimed at preventing contraventions and addressing a variety of safety and security issues in the area. 

Some of the activities include the following: 

  • Safeguarding the area and ensuring that homeless persons do not sleep in the CID or beg for money from the public; 
  • Patrolling and surveillance of businesses and in the case of burglaries or robberies, the support of clients by the Public Safety Officer. 
  • Addressing the problem of alcohol abuse in public (within the CID). 
  • Joint operations launched by the CCT’s Law Enforcement department. 

See visuals depicting amongst other things, the joint SAPS, Law Enforcement and SWCID operation in the vicinity of the bridge over the river in Somerset west. 

  • SWCID CCTV project: accompanying pictures show the installation of cameras by Secure Rite and the view of the streets from the control room. 

security camera 1 security camera 3 security camera James Street

  • Voluntarily lending a helping hand to the public – for example when car trouble is experienced. 

bridge operation 1 bridge operation 2 bridge operation 5 Confiscate trollies Confiscate wheely bins operation with law enforcement officer 1 PSO assists with shoplifting 1 PSO assists with shoplifting 2 public safety officers 2 Public Safety officers removal of stones 1 removal of stones 2 removal of stones 3 sharp object confiscated

 

A newspaper article reported everything but to mention that this operation was initiated by the SWCID and that most of the manpower and resources came from the SWCID.  Pictures also show officers assisting the SAPS in the operation and of where they are helping to remove structures (with the assistance of the SWCID cleaning team) as well as patrol officers show dangerous weapons found during the operation. 

Article on bridge operation 1

s Public Safety Officer assigned to the SWCID, Secure Rite conduct