Posts

In the last few months, we’ve been working hard on our most important goals all to make our community a safe, rich urban environment where our community can thrive. 

Here is what we have achieved so far:  

Did you know? That annually over 180 000 tons of waste are cleared from illegal dumping hot spots! That costs the city, and you as the taxpayer, a staggering R350 million a year just in clean-up. In other words, cleaning illegal dumping costs 20 times more than collecting waste from wheelie bins. That is why to create a clean, healthy and safe community we take our work tackling illegal dumping very seriously. 

“Illegal dumping is a severe problem that puts our community at risk of injury and illness and pollutes our ecosystem. In addition, illegal dumpsites can serve as magnets for other criminal activities,” says Gene Lohrentz, CEO of the urban management company, Geocentric

Here is what we have learnt when it comes to illegal dumping. 

What is illegal dumping?

Illegal dumping is the disposal of unwanted materials in inappropriate places. Be it household rubbish, building waste or industrial debris, improper disposal has disastrous effects on the environment, economy and community.

Our teams are dedicated to cleaning our community and have cleaned thousands of cases of illegal dumping in the last year!

Protecting Property Values

Our daily work with the City of Cape Town’s (COCT) Solid Waste By-law Enforcement Unit protects our district from plummeting property values. By cleaning, we keep our community member’s properties safe by preventing pest issues, blocked storm drains and plastic pollution.  

Clean streets don’t just look great, they also improve the value of properties. The study ‘Value of cleaner neighbourhoods’ found that residents will pay up to 57% more to live in a clean neighbourhood. By being part of the solution business owners can help protect and even increase the market value of their property and make their establishments more inviting for customers. 

Protecting Public Health 

Vermin are attracted to dump sites making these sites sources of disease and infection. Anyone near a dump site risks getting sick both from the hazardous materials dumped and from the diseases spread by rats. These diseases aren’t only formidable – they’re often fatal. Rat urine is responsible for diseases like Leptospirosis ( causing kidney and liver damage) and Hantavirus, a debilitating viral bronchial disease. Rats also gnaw at cables, transformers and electrics causing expensive damage to businesses.

By cleaning up this waste before it attracts vermin, we put a stop to these health hazards before they happen. 

Preventing Floods 

Water sustains life, but it can also cause widespread destruction, as we saw during the recent flooding in KwaZulu-Natal. As our most precious and essential resource we must treasure it – for if we don’t, we will suffer. 

Illegal dumping is a terrifying threat to the water management of our district. When it rains, excess litter is swept into drains and sewers, blocking them and causing trash flash floods. Flooding, and the infrastructure damage it causes, puts immense pressure on emergency services when they are needed most.

To make sure our city can handle the rain we collect all dumping regularly and clean the stormwater drains as part of our winter preparedness programme. 

Pulverizing Plastic Pollution

A large percentage of waste illegally dumped is plastic. We are well aware that its consequences are far-reaching, but we are tackling this challenge too. When possible, we sort the waste and recycle what we can instead of sending it all to a landfill. By sorting recyclables, we help reduce the waste in our waterways and create employment opportunities. 

We understand it’s almost impossible to recycle all waste. However, we also know that big things have small beginnings. We all make small changes to bring about positive collective transformation.  Where possible, we must all take the opportunity to recycle.

How You Can Help Combat Illegal Dumping?

The COCT provides the tools necessary to crack down on illegal dumping and needs citizens to get involved. By reporting dumping you help the City make improvements and encourage others to do the same. Plus, it’s an easy way to beautify your neighbourhood and help keep it safe.

Although the issue is vast, if we all play our part together, we can create a greener, cleaner future for ourselves and future generations.

If you spot something, say something!

To report illegal dumping in your community:

  • Call 0860 103 089 or email solidwaste.bylaw@capetown.gov.za. 
  • If you have the culprit’s vehicle registration number and/or can identify him/her you can shortcut the process and call 021 400 6157

Contact details: 

If you have any safety concerns to report, please contact one of the following numbers:

·       10111 – SAPS (South African Police Services)

·        107 – City of Cape Town Disaster Management

·        0860 103 099 – Secure Rite Control Room

 

Cape Town fires 2021. Source: Associated Press.

Cape Town’s fire season occurs from November through to May which are our hottest, and driest months. Together with our beloved south-easterly “Cape Doctor” – which adores clearing our city of pollution – these arid conditions create ideal opportunities for wildfires to spark and quickly rage out of control. 

From our homes and businesses to our beloved Table Mountain National Park, there are various organisations in place to manage fire safety and intervene both to avoid fires and to control them when they happen. 

It’s true that fires are a part of the South African landscape and occur naturally in grasslands, woodlands, fynbos, and sometimes in indigenous forests. However, there has been a disastrous loss of natural diversity in our fynbos ecosystem and an invasion of Australian wattles, Eucalypts and Mediterranean pines. Now, our fires burn hotter for longer and each fire destroys more than the last. Meaning it’s more important now than ever to actively keep your home, family and business safe and to protect the life and value they hold. 

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.

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. 

Additional Resources

Preventing fires in the Western Cape

City of Cape Town  –  Basic Household Fire Safety

Fire is Everyone’s Fight Toolkit of guidelines and posters with lesson plans

Sanparks – Fire management / Table Mountain National Park Fire Management Plan

Contact information for  the Fire and Rescue Service Department

24-hour emergencies: 107 (landline) or 021 480 7700 (cellphone)

General fire safety enquiries: 021 590 1971 / 021 590 1975

To report a fire : Hotline: 086 110 6417 or The City’s Regional Fire Control No: (021) 590 1900

As we charge into 2022, there is undeniable trepidation surrounding the new challenges and triumphs the year will bring. This year we will continue to create an urban ecosystem that is safe, accessible and inviting to all the workers, visitors and community members of our district. As in years before, 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.  

In 2022 we strive to:  

  • Create a safe and clean public environment by addressing issues of maintenance and by cleaning our streets, pavements and public spaces.  
  • Increase public safety through proactive visible patrolling and by supporting the efforts of the SAPS, City of Cape Town and private security providers.  
  • Manage existing and new public infrastructure for the future benefit of our community members.   
  • Decrease property-related crime to protect community members through our security-related partnerships and to protect property values to attract new investment to the area.  
  • Support the promotion of the businesses in our area by implementing urban greening, promoting energy efficiency initiatives, widening our recycling networks and bettering our risk and disaster management services.  
  • Support and promote social responsibility in the area and assist with the management and upliftment of people living on the streets.  
  • Encourage the maintenance and upgrading of private properties and public spaces in the area. 

We believe in the heart of our institution that the challenges we face are not insurmountable. 

Together with the City of Cape Town, our partners, outreach initiatives and local business owners, we will continue to strive towards reinvigorating our urban environment. Ultimately, together we can create a stable, safe, clean area that is prosperous for our community both economically and socially.  

Headlines from the City  

The City of Cape Town warns to be aware of scammers posing as electricity officials to gain access to your wallet and home. All officials will have an identification card with the City logo, with their name and surname and a photo. If you have any doubts call the COCT on 0860 103 089 to confirm their ID and work order number. 

The City of Cape Town urges their suppliers to be cautious of fake Request for Quotation (RFQ) emails sent to them, as if it is being sent from the City. Please report any suspicious emails to the City for further investigation.  

Struggling to pay your rates and taxes? The City of Cape Town has a wide range of financial relief options available. To learn more, click  here.   

After a challenging 2021, filled with great uncertainty and change globally, many of us are looking forward to wrapping things up for a well deserved holiday with family and friends. Ensuring that your property is secure and your business protected is the best Christmas gift you can give yourself and will give you the peace of mind that will allow you to relax and recuperate. 

Here are our top tips to keep your property safe so you can enjoy the merry season: 

Protecting Your Property:

  1. Ensure you have an alarm – Have an alarm installed by a reputable security company that you trust. Effective alarm systems include armed response services, detection beams, window sensors and electric fences.  
  1. Make sure that your alarm system is working – This includes checking that the backup battery works by doing a final test with your security company. 
  1. Do a thorough physical perimeter check – Ensure there are no access points, such as gaps in the fence, that intruders could enter through.
  1. Check your access points – Make sure that all doors, gates, windows, locks, security bars and roller shutters are in proper working condition and properly locked when you leave the premises.  
  1. Remove potential tools – All wooden pallets, tires and other items that could be used to breach the perimeter of your property must be stored away and all trees and bushes must be trimmed to ensure possible intruders can’t hide in them. 
  1. Collect all keys – All copies of keys, access cards and remote controls for gates and garage doors that are not in use during your absence must be handed in and secured.
  1. Check your emergency contact – The emergency contact number should be for someone with access to ALL entry points of the property. Their contact details should be displayed on the outside of the property for emergency services to contact them in case of fire, theft or crisis. 
  1. Be prepared for an emergency – Keep a list of emergency service providers such as a plumber, electrician and general contractor handy. You should also phone them and get the details of the appropriate staff that will be on call during the festive holidays.
  1. Do your banking beforehand – Do not leave any valuable items or cash on the premises if they cannot be properly secured. 
  1. Install adequate exterior lighting – This serves both as a deterrent and to help authorities catch suspicious persons lurking near your property. Connecting outdoor lights to timers and motion sensors can also help you save on your power bill.
  1. Check the lights – All exterior lights should be in working order as they are a deterrent to criminals and essential for the detection of a potential intruder by security. 
  1. Do your CCTV camera maintenance – If you have CCTV cameras on your premises, ensure they are placed strategically with no blind spots and have been inspected and that their backup batteries are in proper working condition. 

Prevention is better than cure, and we urge all property owners to make every effort to properly prepare for the coming weeks. After a challenging year for all, we sincerely hope that you can rest easy in the knowledge that we will be working through the festive season to keep your homes and businesses safe. 

To share your story with us and stand a chance to be featured in one of our future newsletters email us at media@geocentric.co.za.

If you have any safety concerns to share, please contact one of the following numbers:

·       10111 – SAPS (South African Police Services)

·        107 – City of Cape Town Disaster Management

·        0860 103 099 – Secure Rite Control Room

To contact the City of Cape Town 

Please use the City’s Customer Services call centre to request a service or query your account. You will receive a reference number that you can use to track the request. The best option is to use the City’s website www.capetown.gov.za and select ‘Service Requests’ on the home page, then follow instructions and capture each location as a separate request. The service selections and location determine to which department the request is routed by the system.

You can also send an email to the call centre contactus@capetown.gov.za for each request stating the request, location, complainant’s name, complainant’s contact details and any additional comments. 

You can also SMS 31373 (Maximum 160 characters) OR Call 086 010 3089

To report

Street People

  • Call 0800 872 201

Illegal dumping

Traffic or Taxi issues

  • Call 021 596 1999 or 0860 765 423

Drugs

  • Send an email to Drug.stop@capetown.gov.za
  • For drug treatment and support contact the City’s toll-free helpline on 0800 43 57 48 (0800 HELP 4 U).

Illegal Activity

  • Contact Law Enforcement/Metro Police on 0860 765 423 or 107

Emergency

  • In a life or property threatening situation…
  • Call 107 from a landline or 112 from a cell phone or 021 480 7700

Water and Sanitation related complaints (Burst pipe, water outage, blocked drain, etc.)

Faulty water management devices

Water restriction violation

Solid Waste Department

  • Call centre: 0860 103 089
  • Email: wastewise@capetown.gov.za

Electricity

Faults and enquiries

  • Call centre: 0860 103 089
  • Email: faultreporting.centre@capetown.gov.za
  • SMS: 31220

Bestselling entrepreneurial author Jim Rohn once said, “The good things we build – end up building us”. In the Somerset West City Improvement District (SWCID), our streets are no utopia, but at SWCID we are committed to collaboratively improving our community. We believe that improvement is contagious – which is why we have initiated our Facade Improvement Programme (FIP). The FIP is specifically designed to encourage businesses, like yours, to invest in the curb appeal of your premises. Knowing that we at the Somerset West City Improvement District are working to protect your property from vandalism and malicious degradation.

The FIP is part of an investment journey that we as business owners, community members, municipal bodies and the SWCID walk. Ultimately, we work to repair urban decay and improve the socio-economic environment of the Somerset West City Improvement District.

Our Facade Improvement Programme is a tool for inner-city revitalisation based on the formal processes successfully used in American cities. The protocol is well documented to restore citizens local pride, create a unique urban character, and repair the functionality of an urban area. Studies by the University of Wisconsin found that even small outlays have a positive impact on landlords, business owners and employees.

Somerset West City Improvement District Removing all graffiti tags which aids in keeping your area safer

For Property Landlords Facade Improvement can:

  • Generate more revenue due to new occupancy in previously unoccupied commercial spaces.
  • Increase the economic return with existing renters due to facility and facade improvements.
  • Improve the resale value for landlords looking to sell their property.
  • Make interior improvements more cost-effective and efficient due to running the construction in conjunction.
  • Grow the number of first-time customers by up to 80%.
  • Improve sales by up to 90% for people with businesses in mixed-use areas.
  • Provide publicity and recognition to pique the interest of new, diverse customers thereby stabilizing businesses’ income stream in times of economic instability.
  • Create healthy competition by making other local businesses feel an urgency to improve their facades and facilities to maintain a competitive edge.

It’s clear that facade improvements are a catalyst for many positive changes. By attracting new customers and tenants they help inject more capital into our community thereby improving the financial microclimate of Somerset West City Improvement District. Not to mention, increasing the overall employee engagement and morale by creating a positive working environment.

Somerset West City Improvement District – Keeping the area free from posters on streetlights, road signs and boundaries.

At the Somerset West City Improvement District, we are working alongside you to make a positive impact by:

  • Keeping the streets clean of litter to make sure that your facade improvement remains clean and attractive to your new visitors.
  • Removing all graffiti tags which aids in keeping your area safer by hindering criminal syndicates from targeting your business.
  • Keeping the area free from posters on streetlights, road signs and boundaries such as fences.

As part of our urban community, you can help us by:

  • Adding appropriate, well-designed custom signage to help employees and customers know where you are, where they should park and where they enter to stop them from passing your business by.
  • Improving the aesthetic of your facade by adding lighting, resurfacing with cladding and paint, and adapting details such as decorative awnings, trims, and cornices.
  • Rejuvenating architectural features on larger investments such as windows, entrances, and doorways.
  • Improve the accessibility of your property with ramps, rails, wider doors, and sanitation stations that do not obstruct the flow of foot traffic.

Through the Facade Improvement Programme, we work tirelessly to protect your investment from being damaged and pride ourselves on providing swift and efficient intervention should a challenge arise. Ultimately, we want to help our community become a clean, healthy and safe place to work, live and thrive.

We would love to see what you are working on so please share your #goodnews!

You can contact us and share your story about how you are improving our area via comms@swcid.co.za

If you have any concerns to report, please contact one of the following numbers:

  • SAPS (South African Police Services) 10111
  • City of Cape Town Disaster Management- 107
  • 0860 103 099 – Secure Rite Control Room

Homeless persons who find refuge at the Somerset West Night Shelter, are given the opportunity to earn their board and lodgings by being employed to assist the SWCID teams, especially with cleaning tasks. The prerequisite is that they should be clean in terms of drug and alcohol consumption. 

enabling the vulnerable to earn helping with beautification 2

 

The services of the shelter, its staff and inhabitants are utilised on a partnership basis in these ways: 

  • For labour when necessary 
  • The resident social worker occasionally meets with the SWCID to determine needs, and sometimes walks through the CID to engage with people on the street in need of help or advice. 
  • The residents of the shelter are willing to engage in conversation with the PSO of Secure Rite to explain how homeless persons with their variety of problems and challenges should best be approached. 

Some of the accompanying photos show Law Enforcement officials being involved with staff from Secure Rite and with Public Safety. 

According to the SWCID manager, Ernst van Zyl, the metro’s Law Enforcement officials regularly contact them for operations to be executed in the CID. 

tidying and beautifying meeting with shelter staff helping with beautification 1 engaging with people on the street collaborating with  security staff cleaning tasks cleaning and de-weeding cleaning and beautifying cleaning and beautifying 2 briefing of shelter clients beautification beautification and cleaning beautification (2)

The cleaning team of the SWCID has a host of tasks and challenges to contend with daily. 

Accompanying photos show the various activities that they engage in, which include the following: 

  • mowing of grass; 
  • maintenance work on poles; 
  • removal of stones that are lying around – in order to prevent criminally minded people  from using them to break windows of cars and businesses; 
  • cutting or pruning of branches and carting of the garden refuse to the dumping site; 
  • removal of graffiti and posters

 mowing 1

 

mowing 2

mowing 3

mowing 4

mowing 5

pole maintenance 2

pole maintenance 3

pole maintenance 4

pole maintenance 5

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