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Cape Town Central City Improvement District set for a successful 2024

by Simangele Mzizi 31 Jan 2024
Tree Wrapping

As the Mother City and its CBD emerges from a spectacular festive season, the Cape Town Central City Improvement District is confident the New Year holds good things for South Africa's most economically successful inner city. 

There is a feeling of optimism within the CCID fueled by tourism to Cape Town which reached record-breaking levels this past festive season.

In December, the Mother City, which has just been ranked 2nd in “The 50 Best Cities in the World in 2024” survey by Time Out, had a historic number of two-way international passengers passing through Cape Town International Airport, according to stats provided by Cape Town Air Access, supported by Western Cape investment agency Wesgro

CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos says the organization, which offers top-up services in the CBD in partnership with the City of Cape Town and SAPS to provide a safe, clean, caring and business-friendly downtown, is anticipating a positive year, encouraged by the resilience of CBD stakeholders. Like last year, 2024 will be project-orientated when it comes to its operational departments, Safety & Security, Urban Management and Social Development.

“We are positive about the year ahead, based on a successful festive season. The nod by Time Out’s survey of 20 000 global travellers alongside their network of travel writers and editors is also a welcome boost when you consider that Cape Town scored highly across the board in terms of its cultural scene, food, and quality,” says Evangelinos.

The CCID aims to draw on lessons learnt in the previous year. “In 2024, we will build on what we already have and will continue to do what we do best by maintaining our levels of service and promoting investment in the CBD. We are looking into expanding and introducing new projects going forward. Watch this space!” notes Evangelinos.

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Safety & Security
Members of the CCID's Safety & Security team and public safety officers.

SAFE SPACE

CCID Safety & Security manager Jurie Bruwer says they have laid the groundwork for 2024 with a strategic SWOT analysis to identify the most important and actionable strategies to enhance the efficiency of the department.

Priorities include equipping the CCID’s 317 Public Safety Officers (PSOs) with additional skills, investing in improved technology and effectively managing contracted service providers to ensure that knowledge is shared, and relationships and cooperation are taken to a new level of compliance.

Says Bruwer: “Based on historical data, we can expect the same crime patterns and trends to continue this year and we will base our approach on the available crime analysis data. The way we worked together as a team, the management of and assistance to our security service provider, and excellent working relationships with our main partners and all the stakeholders will continue to be the foundation for everything we are planning.” 

Bruwer adds that they will be on high alert for changes in criminal behaviour and tactics which will impact operational priorities and deployments of security guards within the CCID’s 1.6 km² footprint in town.

The department is currently rolling out a three-month safety awareness campaign which is aimed at educating visitors and locals on how to stay safe in the CBD.

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Festive hanging baskets
Christmas-themed baskets in St Georges Mall.

MAKING THE PLACE

CCID Urban Management is reaping the benefits of its successful festive season project which involved wrapping over 500 trees in the CBD in Christmas-themed fabric, complete with tinsel, transforming the cityscape. The vibrant trees complemented the department’s 120 annual Christmas-themed baskets which were hung up throughout St Georges Mall. These are currently being removed to make way for floral baskets which brighten the space throughout the year.

With 2024 in full swing, Urban is continuing with beautification projects and is currently rolling out an exciting public art initiative to transform ordinary street fixtures – bollards – into striking canvases. A total of 19 bollards are presently being painted in St Georges Mall in collaboration with four local artists, with plans to roll out to other public spaces in town.

The department has also launched a deep-cleaning project in which high-pressure equipment is used to sanitise streets and pavements in the CBD. A shift of five additional sweepers and a supervisor has also been added in high-pedestrian areas between 16h00 to 20h00 to fill the gap that results in increased litter when daytime sweepers come off shift. From 20h00, the nighttime team takes over to ensure the CBD is clean.  

Additionally, the highly successful toilet project, funded jointly by the City of Cape Town and the CCID, is ongoing to alleviate the chronic shortage of public ablution facilities in the CBD. It was recently expanded to include a fifth site in Barrack Street to cater for Home Affairs employees and Labour department queues.

In terms of green initiatives, the department has a waste management project to help minimise recyclable waste in landfills. It involves two teams of three people who walk around the CCID’s 1.6 km² footprint separating recyclables like glass, re-usable plastic, cardboard, and cans from general waste that is disposed into the 400 green bins in the CBD. Collected recyclables are then dropped off at the Woodstock recycling depot. 

CCID Urban Management manager Kally Benito says they are on the brink of a transformative era where initiatives in cleaning, beautification, going green and deep cleaning converge to redefine the CBD. 

“Through a shared commitment to education, engagement and action, we envision a city centre that is aesthetically pleasing, and radiates a positive energy as a result of dedication to cleanliness and sustainability,” says Benito. 

She adds that illegal dumping remains a challenge that they are prepared to face head-on with an educational outreach programme aimed at promoting responsible waste management practices. 

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Social Development
The CCID's Social Development team, from left Herbert November, Headman Siralarala, Mark Williams & Tara Gerardy-Bissolati.

A CARING CBD

The past year marked a period of substantial transformation and progress for the CCID’s Social Development department with key staff appointments. There was also a concerted effort to provide psychosocial support and enhance skills development for programme participants on the CCID’s PEP work-based rehabilitation project with the City and Khulisa Social Solutions and those on the Night Peer Fieldworker Project, managed through Khulisa Streetscapes. In 2024, the focus is on building upon the established foundation.

Says CCID Social Development manager Tara Gerardy-Bissolati: “The Social department has increased the presence of peer fieldworkers, incorporating night shifts alongside day shifts. During nighttime hours, a dedicated fieldworker offers mentorship and psychosocial support to tackle aggressive begging through interventions focused on behaviour change. 

“The Social team has also broadened its access to shelter support through engagements with The Haven Night Shelter, adding an additional 25-bed space to its existing portfolio, and continues its existing collaboration with Youth Solutions Africa. Streetscapes, a major beneficiary, is set to continue its vital work, showcasing significant success in 2023 and promising further accomplishments in the coming year.” Throughout the year, the CCID subsidises 30 beds at Youth Solutions Africa.

Gerardy-Bissolati says they are actively exploring collaborations to improve access to services for street children, a realm with highly restricted resources. She adds that the department is committed to expanding on last year’s achievements, “foreseeing a successful year ahead characterized by providing effective assistance to more individuals as they transition away from life on the streets within the CBD”.

IMAGES: Carmen Lorraine, CCID