Mitchell’s Plain Town Centre central improvement district (CID) has a two- to three-year plan to bring back the banks to the central business district, which includes the vibrant public transport interchange and a MyCiTi bus station.
James Loxton, one of the CID managers from Myertal Technologies, responsible for security, waste management, social infrastructure, economic planning and ultimately educational ventures in the Town Centre, said if the banks continued to pull out of the crime- and grime-ridden hot spot there would be nothing to do in the business hub.
“Bring back the banks, the national anchor tenants, the big corporates that anchor our economy,” he said.
He spoke to the Plainsman on Wednesday June 17 ahead of the induction of the second lot of a total of 21 community ambassadors, designated to help drive Covid-19 education and awareness initiatives in the local CBD.
Another 20 people will be employed by the City of Cape Town’s expanded public works programme in the new financial year.
The CBD attracts lots of foot traffic, including commuters, shoppers, formal businesses, hundreds of smaller businesses, and about 690 permitted informal traders.
The CID management and security offices is located in the Town Centre for on-site real time monitoring and response. The CID has been planning and putting measures in place to secure the business hub since December last year.
Mr Loxton hopes to use the boardroom facilities to help educate unemployed Mitchell’s Plain residents, via Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA) budgets.
“I want to be able to bring them here and give them basic training in the eventuality of getting involved with security, closed-circuit television (CCTV) and site monitoring. Education is what is sorely lacking.”
He applauded the neighbourhood watch members, who availed themselves and left their communities to come and secure the economic hub.
“They have given up their own time and communities and will now be paid by the council to help with the implementation of Covid-19 regulations,” he said.
“Education solves everything – it solves poverty, it solves the disease and it can certainly assist in the containment of the Covid-19 spread in Mitchell’s Plain, one of the hot spots in the Western Cape, which represents 80% of the infections in the country.”
He said for once the people of Mitchell’s Plain Town Centre, who work here, live here and trade here have a city improvement district (CID) formation which means in law that there is a vehicle that can now take a budget and implement it,” said Mr Loxton.
“The CID is a homogeneous partnership between public and private enterprises.
“If they co-ordinate there is plenty of manpower in this Town centre to make it clean, healthy, safe, free of crime.
A healthy trade environment, which would help the feet get back here.
“The goal would be to be free of crime, and would be getting rid of 90% of the crime which is happening here at the moment,” he said.
The ambassadors will work from 6am until noon, and from noon until 6pm; six days a week at a cost of R180 a shift.
Mr Loxton said they would be assisting at the shopping centre with physical distancing, making sure people have personal protective equipment (PPE), both shoppers and shop assistants at formal businesses and informal traders.
They have sanitiser and will monitor the number of people in a shop at any given time.
Grant Twigg, mayoral committee member for urban management, said they would be supporting the existing efforts by SAPS, City law enforcement, the City’s transport security officers and the security of the CID, to ensure education and awareness is raised about physical distancing and sanitising.
He said the community ambassadors, in conjunction with the area economic development’s compliance officers, would also assist with checking the informal trading permits and ensuring there is no over-trading of bays.
Other key activities include patrolling the Town Centre and liaising with law enforcement agencies as well as reporting on service delivery complaints in the Mitchell’s Plain Town Centre.
Mr Twigg said: “We are endeavouring to educate our communities through these awareness drives, about the coronavirus – how it is spread and what each one of us can do to help reduce the spread and protect ourselves and each other”.
He encouraged everyone to wear their masks when they leave home, as well as businesses and informal traders to ensure they adhere to the necessary measures, such as having hand sanitisers and physical distancing.