Attracting shoppers back to Morgenster

Ward 116 councillor Michael Pat Pietersen, mayoral committee member for Safety and Security JP Smith and Metro police area south director Wilton Ganjana.

Ward 116 councillor Michael “Pat” Pietersen and safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith visited Morgenster shopping centre, in Lentegeur, which has been plagued by robberies and business closures in recent years.

They were accompanied by Mandalay Neighbourhood Watch members and traffic, law enforcement and Metro police representatives on Wednesday November 2.

Ward 116 is a new ward, including parts of Beacon Valley, Montrose Park, Mandalay and Morgenster, which were previously part of wards 78, 99, 88 and 76; and it will form part of Khayelitsha Sub-council.

Mr Smith recommended that Mr Pietersen apply for funds from the mayoral urban regeneration programme (MURP) to re-energise the shopping centre, which was once the home of the Department of Labour.

A nightclub was closed in recent months, affecting business in the area.

Mr Smith said the ward allocation budget could also be used to pay for CCTV cameras and a rent-a-cop.

The City introduced the rent-a-cop concept in 2008, agreeing that individuals, companies, NGOs or institutions could sponsor law enforcement, Metro police and traffic officers.

Rent-a-cops enforce by-laws and other council regulations.

“They focus on the issues which, if left unchecked, could potentially become bigger enforcement headaches down the line,” said Mr Smith.

“They are in a position to get to know their deployment area and the issues particular to that area, which is extremely useful in terms of crime prevention. The other function is to assist Metro police and the SAPS with their crime prevention and enforcement activities,” he said.

Although sponsors pay the salaries of rent-a-cops, the officers report to the City. Sponsors can, however, ask for them to be deployed to cover trouble spots.

Mr Pietersen said Mandalay and surrounding areas were plagued by house robberies, burglaries and murder, including the killing of Dr Anton Diedericks, deputy principal of the Equestrian Academy of Cape Town High School, who was shot dead in what appears to have been a botched hijacking, while dropping off a sick pupil in Mandalay on Tuesday October 18 (“Shot dead after good deed,” Plainsman, October 26).

Mr Pietersen asked for law enforcement and Metro police officers to be visible in parks, which he said were being taken over by gangsters.