Posts

Mahatma Gandhi said that the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members. Unfortunately, as South Africans, we are desensitised in part to the poverty that permeates our ordinary lives. Used to the sight of the radical impact our ever-expanding gap between the haves and have nots creates. While many of us want to help, most are uneducated on the extraordinarily complex issues that create and sustain homelessness. 

Due to our own basic understanding of these ever-evolving issues, it makes a greater difference when we partner with and give back to organisations equipped with the infrastructure, skill and experience to combat homelessness and help in a sustainable way.

“Handouts of cash given to desperate – often mentally ill people – add fuel to the same addictions that put them on the streets. Institutions such as our partners at MES have spent decades building, perfecting and maintaining the social infrastructure to efficiently maximise the impact of our donations and the results are inarguable,” says Jaco Wessels, COO of our appointed urban management company Geocentric.  

Here are our top recommendations of non-profit organisations active in 2022 and how to  contribute to their vision responsibly:

MES

MES Cape Town is a pivotal partner in efforts to sustainably rehome the homeless in many City Improvement Districts. Their extensive network of strong outreach and social relief programmes allows them to provide the reach and resources that our CID requires. They also have a reactive help desk to assist us whenever necessary to meets the immediate and short-term needs of the homeless and unemployed community. 

We work with MES extensively to source the individuals that we require as casual labour for project-specific work.  The experts at MES also scout out individuals who show promise and then place them with us every week. For those who show dedication, we offer the opportunity to be absorbed on a probationary basis as one of our workers a.k.a our Green Ants. We then provide opportunities for all our Green Ants to become supervisors, further their training and grow into an integral part of our workforce. 

To ensure that the funds they generate with us are put to good use,  we pay their stipend directly to MES. Who use it to cover the cost of their living expenses sustainably until the end of their stay. 

To get in touch, call them on +27 21 949 8736 or send an email to info@mes.org.za.

Visit their website to donate here.

Here are some tips on how you can help responsibly:

  • Donate directly to a registered and legitimate NGO in your area. Your donations do not have to be monetary either so be on the lookout for clothing items, towels, tents, blankets, pillows, bags or non-perishable groceries for institutions such as FoodForward SA.
  • Support charities and campaigns by advocating to prevent homelessness on social media. By following and sharing posts of organisations such as Women’s Shelter Movement, Ons Plek and Youth Solutions Africa you help grow their followings and advocate their cause.
  • Volunteer your time or professional skills. Everyone from the accountants among us to the karate teachers has a unique offering that can improve the lives of those less fortunate – so ask your local charities how you may dedicate your skill to improving their offering.  

Since the ratio of people in need of help, and the help available, is so unbalanced many NGOs and NPOs are left with tight funds to run the businesses themselves. By donating your, time, skill, possessions or money in a responsible way you not only help make our district a safer space but provide our homeless residents with the chance to rekindle a sense of pride, community, and dignity. 

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

·        021 565 0900 – Geocentric 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

We believe that you are an expert in your area and have seen the positive change we can make first-hand.  You know better than anyone, where our precious resources are best spent and we value your contribution in helping us plan for future projects. 

The legislative structure governing much of our work in your area is up for amendment. We hope that the proposed changes of making the processes of starting and running a CID  more structured will improve the efficiency of CIDs citywide. 

Your suggestions on the proposed amendments to the CID by-law and City improvement district policy can be submitted online here,   emailed to CityImprovement.Districts@capetown.gov.za or written to, City of Cape Town, PO Box 298, Cape Town 8000

Comments and objections may be submitted from 16 August to 15 September 2021.

Bestselling entrepreneurial author Jim Rohn once said, “The good things we build – end up building us”. In the Wynberg Improvement District (WID) district, our streets are no utopia, but at WID 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 Wynberg 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 WID walk. Ultimately, we work to repair urban decay and improve the socio-economic environment of the Wynberg 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.

Wynberg Improvement District – Keeping the streets clean of litter to make sure that your facade improvement remains clean and attractive to your new visitors.

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 the Wynberg Improvement District. Not to mention, increasing the overall employee engagement and morale by creating a positive working environment.

Wynberg Improvement District (WID) – Keeping the area free from posters on bins, streetlights & road signs

At the Wynberg 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.
  • Improving 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 info@wynbergid.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
  • Geocentric Control Room – 021 565 0900