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I pay about R 8,000 per month rates and taxes in Camps Bay of which I can see very little is spent in my neighbourhood. I support the local neighbourhood watch groups and private security companies as we cannot rely on the police. Now we are being asked to pay additional rates for a CID to do what the City of Cape Town should already be doing with our rates and taxes in the first place. How can this be justified?

This answer is provided by Chris Willemse, Chair of the Camps Bay & Clifton Ratepayers Association:

CID is the acronym for a City Improvement District, which is a legislated entity whereby the residents of a demarcated area (Camps Bay, in this case) agree to a percentage increase on their rates and where that full amount so levied, is used by that community to bolster services to actively fight, mainly, crime and grime. In other words, the CID could use the money to increase the number of policing members and cleansing staff.

The CID regulations derive its authority from national legislation and the process is driven by a volunteer steering committee – in this case by representatives of current civic bodies in the area.

You ask a valid question as to why, given our already high rates bill in the area, we should have to pay more.

Unfortunately, the answer is that we will receive no more services than at present and that if we don’t help ourselves, then nobody will. This is not a defeatist attitude but a pragmatic one occasioned by a failing police force and the City which is at full stretch and also tied up in its own bureaucracy. The situation is unlikely to improve in the near future.

The Covid-19 pandemic also saw a massive increase in the number of homeless people being attracted to Camps Bay, which has also brought a lot of “day trippers” to the area to beg from the increased number of post-Covid tourists. Security on the beachfront has become a major issue of late, with brazen attacks on members of the public.

All of this points to the need for the community to galvanize itself and take responsibility for its own future. In a perfect world, this would be the responsibility of the various authorities but that remains a dream here, sadly.

There are many local civic organizations that are successfully dealing with the many problems facing the community but they remain underfunded and cannot achieve their full potential.

These organizations are run by volunteers and are, basically, unsustainable unless supported by the entire community. They include CBCSI (security) and Ignisive (the reintegration of homeless people), CBCRA (planning and general matters), CPF (liaison with SAPS) and CBW (Camps Bay Watch) and others.

The CID has to operate with the framework of the Company’s Act and transparent budgeting and expenditure is the order of the day. This presents an opportunity for residents to become actively involved in their own affairs. The CBCRA is fully supportive of the CID initiative, as it will involve the entire community and all income from increased rates will be ring fenced for the use in this area (and not into the City’s bloated bureaucracy).