Safety and security top councillors’ priority lists

A large portion of ward allocations is being spent on the installation of CCTV cameras.

Safety and security has become the main focus of most ward allocation budgets in the area covered by Southern Mail – despite some local government officials saying that safety and policing were not the City of Cape Town’s core mandate.

Over the past few weeks councillors have given us a breakdown of their allocations for the current financial year, with most of the money being spent on safety and security measures like CCTV cameras to help assist police with criminal investigations, and to curb gangsterism and keen an eye on crime hot spots in communities.

The City’s financial year ends in June and every sub-council is allocated a budget of R1 million per ward.

Later this year the municipal elections will be held and some councillors have applied to stand for re-election in their respective wards, however, if another councillor is elected they can amend the current councillor’s wish list and priorities when the budget is looked at again or adjusted.

This week we speak to councillors Monty Oliver from Ward 63 which includes parts of Wynberg and Ottery; and William Akim from Ward 66 which includes Parkwood and Ottery.

Ward 66’s CCTV camera installation is set to be completed at the end of this month – with R350 000 allocated to the project. Mr Akim said this was one of the more important projects in the ward to monitor safety and security and to provide evidence to police if needed.

The allocations are broken into two categories; capital and operational.

Capital expenditures include a sound system and new stage curtains at the Bruce Road civic centre at a cost of R100 000, spotlights, park play equipment and upgrades which cost R100 000 and the CCTV camera project which cost R350 000.

Operational costs include R50 000 for early childhood development (ECD) centres in the ward, R100 000 towards safety and security, R60 000 towards holiday programmes, R100 000 for wellness programmes for seniors, R40 000 to neighbourhood watches and R100 000 towards the Mayoral Job Creation Projects (MJCP).

With the pandemic came a lot of re-strategising and some projects were put on hold to adhere to safety regulations. This has led to smaller awareness programmes and funding was made available to day care centres and seniors received Covid-19 packs as well as the distribution of masks and pamphlets to spread awareness, said Mr Akim.

“Illegal dumping still continues to be a massive problem in the ward so I urge residents to report illegal dumping offenders. II also ask that they volunteer and assist with walking bus project school walking off scholars in morning and afternoon as well as to report service delivery issues in the ward.”

Mr Akim said his projections for the ward allocations for the next financial year included the CCTV camera project. Youth programmes, senior events, the upgrade of play parks, traffic calming measure, for ECD centre, recreational projects, arts and culture and more material for the Ottery library.

Mr Oliver said the bulk of Ward 63’s funding, more than R800 000, went towards capital projects. This includes R316 863 for license plate recognition cameras, R350 000 for the upgrade of parks including fencing and gym equipment and R140 000 for traffic calming measures.

For operational projects R100 000 was allocated to a Woman’s Day project, R60 000 for a youth skills programme and R125 000 towards a neighbourhood watch programme.

Mr Oliver said the ward received funding from the City to buy food and health products to assist residents during the hard lockdown when many lost their jobs and needed medical supplies to stay healthy.

The councillor encouraged residents to take ownership of their surroundings and facilities: “More residents should join Neighbourhood Watches and if they are elderly or pensioner age they can still make a difference by walking and observing during the day and reporting suspicious behaviour to police and law enforcement.”

Mr Oliver’s projected plans for the next financial year also include CCTV cameras.