Security will be beefed up in the Company’s Garden, thanks to the handover of safety kiosks to the Central City Improvement District (CCID).
The kiosks, which are to be positioned at either ends of Government Avenue – the main access points for entry to the Company’s Garden – were donated by the Department of Community Safety.
One of the city’s most popular free-to-access attractions, the Company’s Garden has, over recent months, seen an increase in the number of crimes being reported.
Muneeb Hendricks, CCID’s manager of safety and security, said: “There certainly has been a rise of reported incidents, and it is because we all want to reclaim it as a safe space that this collaborative effort has been put into place.”
Expanding on the general nature of these crimes, Mr Hendricks said: “The crimes that are reported are those largely involving theft of personal items and incidents of harassment. We’ve also had reports of drug dealing.
“While there are seldom crimes of a more serious nature occurring in this space, the perception that it leaves with the public is that it is at times an unsafe destination in which to be in – and that’s a great pity if you think of the asset that the Company’s Garden should be for Capetonians and visitors alike.”
For this reason, Mr Hendricks added: “We are very excited to be associated with this project because of the collaboration that’s taking place on it. It is being funded by the Western Cape Department of Community Safety, utilising and upskilling students from the Chrysalis Academy, in an iconic and popular public space managed by the City of Cape Town, with the day-to-day operation falling under the CCID, for the benefit of all people who wish to use and enjoy the Company’s Garden.”
Mr Hendricks added: “A visible security presence is always an immediate deterrent to those intending to commit crime in any area. Plus, it provides the public with a peace-of-mind indicator that someone is watching over them. In addition, there are also on-foot patrols of the area.
Ewald Botha, spokesperson for Dan Plato, MEC for Community Safety said: “The obligation of the Department of Community Safety in relation to the safety kiosk programme is to select and train youth and place them on the Youth Work Programme; remunerate the youth with stipends for their services while placed at the safety partner; donate the safety kiosk to the safety partner; monitor the correct placement of the youth and the correct utilisation of the safety kiosk; and facilitate these by means of a memorandum of understanding with the safety partner.”
Welcoming the handover, ward councillor Dave Bryant, said: “The safety kiosks will improve the safety of one of our most iconic public spaces and allow users greater peace of mind. This comes on the back of a number of other successful projects and catalytic intervention in the Company’s Garden over the past five years. These include the new restaurant, the installation of a working urban food garden and improved CCTV coverage. The presence of these kiosks will increase proactive interventions to reduce crime in the area.”
Mr Bryant added: “The Cape Town CBD has seen a 90% reduction in crime through collaborative work between the CCID, the City of Cape Town and SAPS.
“We will continue to work to ensure that we reduce crime and improve the public environment for the hundreds of thousands of people from across the city, who use the CBD on a daily basis.”