Tag Archives: SRBID

Q1 review, winter preparation & wheelie bin safety

As we move into the cooler months, we’re looking back and highlighting the efforts made during Q1 to keep the Salt River Business Improvement District a safe and clean place to live, work and visit. At this time, we also start preparing for winter with all the necessary maintenance to public space, and we ask you to take care of your property and business by doing the same. Lastly, we offer our safety tips for your wheelie bin, which can become a security hazard, especially as our daylight hours decrease.

Looking back at Q1

For Quarter One 2024, we focused on maintaining a safe environment through our security initiatives, which include ensuring bin-pickers and loiterers are monitored and dealt with.  Additionally, the Salt River Business Improvement District’s cleanliness was a priority, with our cleaning services ensuring a well-maintained space through initiatives such as emptying public bins on time and cleaning public gutters when needed. You can learn more about what we accomplished this quarter below.

On the ground report from our CID manager

“The most recent positive incident that occurred in SRBID was the arrest the PSO’s made by the substation by Rochester Park, of two males cutting cables at this known hotspot. The PSO’s reacted, arrested both males and our Control Room contacted SAPS.”

Why is it a positive incident?

“Every year the City of Cape Town spends millions of rands repairing damaged infrastructure. A small difference like this can save the City thousands of rands and prevents residents/business owners from being without electricity for a couple of days.” – De Wet Beck

wheelie bin safety + how to replace your wheelie bin

Wheelie Bin Safety

Learn how to keep your wheelie bin and property safe, or replace a lost bin, with these helpful tips.

Keeping your wheelie bin secure benefits both you and the community. Clearly marking your bin with your house number or address increases the chances of its safe return if it gets misplaced. But security goes beyond just the bin itself. To ensure your overall safety, be mindful of what you throw away. Avoid discarding medication bottles with your name or address visible. Shred any personal documents before disposal to prevent identity theft.

Bin placement also plays a role in security. Leaving your wheelie bin too close to walls or fences creates a potential climbing aid for trespassers. Ideally, store your bin in a designated area, like a garage or shed, whenever possible. If not, position it in a well-lit, open area away from fences and walls. By following these simple tips, you can keep your wheelie bin secure and reduce potential security risks around your property.

Winter Readiness

The crisp air and cosy vibes of winter are fast approaching, but so are the challenges of rain, wind and potential disruptions. Don’t get caught off guard! We’ve got you covered with essential tips to navigate the season seamlessly. 

From keeping your property prepared and business functioning smoothly, to staying safe on the roads, these handy suggestions will help you embrace the winter flow. 

Renewal of the Salt River Business Improvement District

Great news for Salt River! The City of Cape Town Council has approved the renewal of the Salt River Business Improvement District for the next five years. This renewal signifies the continued commitment to enhancing the area’s safety, cleanliness and overall prosperity.

You can expect to see the positive impacts of the renewal through initiatives such as:

Enhanced security: Continued investment in security measures and crime prevention programs will help to create a safer environment for everyone.

Increased cleanliness: Consistent cleaning services and beautification projects will ensure a well-maintained and attractive district.

Economic development: The improvement districts will continue to work towards attracting new businesses, fostering economic growth, and creating a thriving environment for existing businesses.

By working together, the Salt River Business Improvement Districts and property owners can keep the area vibrant and thriving.

You can view the approval letter for the extended term here.

Welcoming 2024 – Let’s Create A Better Salt River Together

Working together with residents, local businesses and urban management specialists to create a rich urban environment where the Salt River community can thrive, we – the Salt River Business 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 Salt River 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

Salt River Business Improvement District 2023 Roundup

It’s been another year of successes and tackling challenges head-on for the Salt River Business Improvement District. As part of our renewed commitment to public safety and urban cleaning and management, we persist in leading the way toward the continuous improvement of Salt River as a thriving business and residential hub.

Our CID team has increased their presence on the ground, resulting in improved statistics across the board for 2023. We’ve driven more kilometres in our patrol vehicles, engaged with more members of the public and attended to more service requests and urban defects than ever before. We’ll continue with this increased presence in the community in 2024 and the years beyond.

This year, with 51 CIDs now in operation in the City of Cape Town, the new CID by-law and policy has come into effect. Geocentric, who has now been working with city improvement district initiatives for more than 2 decades, is proud to be responsible for over 25% of the total CIDs in operation. 

In addition to taking care of the public’s safety and urban cleaning, our CID placed a focus on greening areas across Salt River in 2023. These urban beautification projects will be continued throughout 2024, in line with the goal of continuously upgrading our community. 

2023 Salt River Business Improvement District Stats

“Despite the challenges of a struggling economy, ongoing load shedding and higher fuel prices, the aim of the SRBID remained focussed on delivering top-up services to the public spaces of Salt River throughout the year,” says Gene Lohrentz of Geocentric Urban Management, tasked with the delivery of our City Improvement District services.

The SRBID Board and Geocentric management team is committed to finding innovative, efficient and cost-effective ways to continue delivering on the vision for a safer, cleaner, well-maintained and vibrant community.  We look forward to more opportunities to make a tangible difference in 2024.

Safety Tips for the Holiday Season

As the festive season approaches, it is essential to prioritise safety at this time, as crime, accidents and fire hazards are usually on the rise during the holiday period.

Being mindful of potential risks and hazards can help safeguard you, your business and your property – from road safety considerations to vigilance against petty crimes in crowded business premises to more serious crimes such as hijacking and robbery. 

Along with keeping your personal safety in mind, if you are a business owner, it is imperative to be vigilant and proactive in implementing strategies that protect your assets, property and staff during the busiest time of year. 

Prevention is better than cure. That’s why we urge property and business owners to make every effort to prepare their properties, businesses, staff and themselves against opportunists and criminals with our safety tips below:

Emergency Numbers

Quick access to relevant emergency numbers can be the difference between life and death. We have compiled a comprehensive list for you to save and share for easy access to these numbers.

Once again, our 24-hour security control room is always available for your public safety emergencies.

Whatsapp group info 

If you’re interested in staying informed about our initiatives, as well as the newest developments in your improvement district, you can become a member of our SRBID 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 CID

• We will add you to the relevant CID Community Group

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

AGM 2023 Save the Date + spring cleaning, greening & beautifying Salt River

Mid-October, we hold our Annual General Meeting (AGM 2023) to review the year’s activities and begin our planning for 2024/25. This Spring, we have also undertaken several urban beautification projects, adding greenery and cleaning up public areas of Salt River to improve the community experience of people living in, working in and visiting our area. We also celebrate new additions to our globally renowned urban art collection. Read on for more.

SAVE THE DATE! 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 6 October.

View all AGM documents here.

AGM Details

Tuesday, 17 October 2023, 15:00

Conference venue at DoubleTree by Hilton, Upper Eastside, 31 Brickfield Road.

RSVP: info@srbid.co.za

Spring greening Salt River

Our Salt River Circle is one of the most used intersections of our area if not the City of Cape Town, used by many Cape Town motorists and pedestrians every single day.

For the last two years, the Salt River Business Improvement District has been working on beautifying the Salt River Circle. The fist step was to plant new beds in the open spaces of the circle with a waterwise plant. That immediately brought greenery and purple flowers to the circle.

Our next step to further beautify the traffic circle was the addition of some potted plants. We brought in eight planters that we have positioned on the inner side of the circle.

Our CID looks after these plants with the help of the City. Thanks go to City Parks, in particular to Ward Councillor Yusuf Mohamed, for providing us with a water point so that we can easily water the plants at the circle, which is key to the success of the upgrade of the circle and ongoing beautification of our district.

A new mural added to the Salt River street art collection

Salt River has developed into one of Cape Town’s best-known hubs for street art, where homeowners, business owners and developers have decorated large portions of their buildings with beautiful artwork in the form of urban murals. The IPAF international public art festival, recognising the legacy of wonderful urban art in the area, has contributed significantly to this development over the last few years.

New additions to our urban artwork is very welcome. It often bears the expression of the hopes and dreams of our society, in a philosophical and uplifting way that encourages others to express themselves creatively through art and to live in a more open-minded and accepting way, as well as simply adding beauty and art to our area, and further drawing visitors to come and appreciate the art.

At the same time as rejecting the negative scourge of graffiti – differentiated from urban art as illegal and unwanted tagging and slogans being sprayed onto public infrastructure that we as the SRBID remove on a regular basis – our CID patrol officers and staff also monitor and protect the urban art from being vandalised.

This new mural below is ‘Herstory’ by Creative Yeti and can be found at 45 Yew Street.

New mural in Salt River: 'Herstory' by Creative Yeti at 45 Yew Street, Cape Town

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.

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 WID 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.

Salt River Business Improvement District 2022 roundup & safety tips for the holiday season

2022 has been a year for celebrating successes for Salt River Business Improvement District and tackling new and ongoing challenges. 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 Salt River 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.

Salt River Business 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 Salt River board and management team have remained steadfast in our commitment to providing high-quality top-up services in Salt River. Embracing and implementing adaptability into our vision now seems entrenched in our day-to-day operations as well as our strategic thinking.”

2022 Salt River Business 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 Storm Water: 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 SRBID 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 Salt River Business Improvement District

• We will add you to the Salt River Business Improvement District Community Group

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

Illegal Dumping: What It Is and How to Stop It

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

·        021 565 0900 – Geocentric Control Room 

Staying Egg-xtra safe on the roads this Easter

As we approach the Easter weekend many families are looking forward to much needed time spent bonding over easter egg hunts and delicious lunches. However, as we all travel to our destinations, the days leading up to Easter weekend see many more motorists driving further in the first rains of our wet season.

As we set off in these conditions, we urge all motorists to take extreme caution and increase their awareness of the common causes of accidents and other road-users safety.

Here are our top tips for travelling safely this Easter weekend.

Check your vehicle.  

Many accidents happen due to vehicles not reacting to a driver’s delayed response If you are travelling in heavy rain, use the brightest setting for your head and tail lights to improve visibility. Ensure that your wiper blades are in good condition as spray from other vehicles reduces visibility considerably so take extra care when overtaking or being overtaken. Braking is significantly impacted by the tread on your tyres so make sure you have sufficient tread. If you experience car trouble, turn on your hazard lights as bright as you can, set up additional warning signs if you have them in your car and pull off the road. Remain seated inside the car especially at night, as glare from your hazards may make it difficult for oncoming traffic to see you. 

For more information on how to check your vehicle watch the Arrive Alice video below 

Leave early and take breaks. 

Due to the increasing amount of vehicles on the road drivers should leave earlier and be prepared for delays on the roads during poor weather conditions. This will help you avoid any abrupt acceleration, excessive speed and sudden steering movements which are the main culprits of accidents. Additionally, adjust your speed and following distance – five to seven seconds to break –  to ensure that you can stop safely.

Drivers’ fatigue – caused by long-distance driving after a long day at work or a late night – is also a major contributor to fatal accidents. Emotional stress, lack of sleep, boredom and sun glare all cause fatigue so make sure to get a good seven hours of sleep before you travel. Additionally, for most of us, our sleep-wake cycle is set to be resting between 2 am and 6 am so try not to travel in these low light early hours of the morning. 

If you are tired, stop and have a rest. Signs that you are too tired to drive include your eyes shutting, daydreaming, swerving, crankiness, restlessness and frequent yawning or eye rubbing. 

Remain aware of other road users. 

Last year, approximately 35% of the people who died on the roads over the Easter long weekend were pedestrians – making them the group most affected by accidents. Please remain aware of the sides of the road, particularly when travelling between towns as many people hitchhike to see their families. In areas of particular interest, there will also be signs alerting you to remain vigilant. Once you have spotted a pedestrian, slow down and give them lots of space until you have passed them fully as those who have consumed alcohol are likely to make dangerous decisions. If you can, plan to avoid driving in low light conditions as these combined with bad weather make other road users far more difficult to see. 

Do not drink and drive – at all. 

According to the new amendments in the National Road Traffic Act, anyone caught with blood that has an alcohol content of more than 0.05% will be arrested, charged with Driving Under the Influence of Liquor and held in custody until they can post bail if bail is not denied. Depending on your record, and the circumstances surrounding your arrest, you face the loss of your driver’s licence, a criminal record, a minimum fine of R2 000, a two-year prison sentence, or all of the above. 

To put 0.05% into perspective any more than 350ml of beer, or a single tot of Brandy puts you over the limit with these levels of alcohol remaining in your system for up to eight hours after consumption. 

Be aware of the signs of other drivers who may be drunk around you, such as weaving between lanes, accelerating and braking erratically or displaying delayed responses. If you think another driver is intoxicated, put more distance between yourselves and them as quickly and safely as you can. Please also report it by contacting the City’s Law Enforcement, Traffic and Coordination Department by calling 021 480 7700 or the National Traffic Call Centre on 086 140 0800.

By making sure we have road safe vehicles, taking our time getting where we are going, respecting the pedestrians on our roads and never getting on the roads intoxicated we ensure that all of us can enjoy safer roads this Easter. 

Headlines From The City

City’s budget will do more to clean up our Mother City

City serious about diverting organic waste from landfills

Comment on the City’s draft Integrated Development Plan 2022 – 2027

Featured image credits : <a href=’https://www.freepik.com/photos/green-road’>Green road photo created by 4045 – www.freepik.com</a>

Helping The Homeless To Build A Sustainable Future

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. 

Trial By Fire – Fire Safety In Cape Town’s Summer

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