Chairperson Report - 2021
Dear HPP-NPC Member,
I have pleasure in submitting my report for the period commencing 1 September 2020 and ending 30 June 2021. The report is also available on the HPP-website (www.hpp.org.za).
Alignment of Financial Year
You will notice that this report covers a 10-month period. When HPP became the management body of the Hermanus Special Rating Area (HSRA) on 1 November 2020, we aligned HPP’s financial year with that of the Overstrand Municipality, which runs from 1 July to 30 June.
The Transformation of HPP
We are living in extraordinary times. Not only do we suffer the impact of the Covid-pandemic, but we must cope with the consequences of weak economic growth, extremely high levels of unemployment and rampant crime – in all shapes and form.
During challenging times, it becomes imperative for businesses and institutions to re-invent themselves to remain relevant, survive and grow. HPP is no exception.
The transformation of HPP started two years ago when a new Board of Directors took charge of the business. From the outset the new Board knew that they had to focus on a few critical success factors, them being:
- Get closer to our ‘customers’ through vastly improved communication
- Become a data-driven business
- Invest in technology
- Tailor the solution to emerging realities
- Build strategic relationships
- Learn from the practices of other SRAs and flagship municipalities through ongoing research and benchmarking.
Looking back over the 10-month period, I believe that we have made progress in respect of each of these success factors. However, much more must be done for HPP to become the model non-profit company we would like it to be.
HPP’s Value Proposition – Driving Investment Through Public Safety
Investment fuels local economic development, which in turn creates job opportunities and self-sustaining communities that thrive.
Investors consider several factors before they make a final decision to invest in a specific location. In the case of real estate investors, these factors include the following:
- How well run is the local municipality?
- What does the infrastructure look like?
- Is the environment safe, secure, and well maintained?
- How healthy is the local social structure?
- Will I get a return on my investment?
- What are the risks?
Other than real estate investment, the Hermanus-economy is heavily dependent on international and local tourists. Holidaymakers read reports on travel portals and social media before they plan their vacations in South Africa. If there are bad reports about the safety situation in a particular area, they simply exclude that area from their itinerary.
Given the role it plays in sustaining a safe and clean environment, HPP-operations directly impact investment, tourism, and local economic development.
The audited HPP-financial results for the year ending 31st August 2020 are available on the HPP-website (www.hpp.org.za).
The balance sheet for the period under review shows a retained income of R 3 659 131. On 1 September 2020 HPP had an opening balance of R 938 760. The closing balance on 30 June stood at R3 659 131. This healthy surplus partly resulted from the fact that the service contracts only commenced on 1 November 2020, whereas full revenue had been received from 1 July 2020.
Even though several upgrades had been done to surveillance infrastructure, fixed asset value remained steady at R 593 616. This is because a substantial portion of our CCTV and other installations are now quite old. We are currently working steadily on our expansion and renewal plan. The aim is to spend in the order of R1,6 m on CCTV improvements and maintenance over the next 2 years.
The income statement revenue for the 21/22 period is based on an annual rates increase of 4%, but also includes 10% retention to cover potential non-payment by ratepayers. Annually there should be a small refund once the Overstrand Municipality has completed a reconciliation on the actual payment performance. Budgeted revenue increases for the next four years will be assumed to remain at 4% per annum. The retention allowance will be revisited on an annual basis, but in the interim we will retain it at 10%.
We wish to again point out that, in terms of the Financial Agreement, HPP must have accrued a surplus equal to 2 months’ revenue during the first year of operations. We can confirm that this requirement had been achieved.
HPP has moved away from the conventional approach to crime prevention in public open space to an operating model that involves the dynamic deployment of resources based on intelligence, shifting crime patterns and the ongoing vagrant problem.
The integrated solution includes:
- Foot patrols along the cliff path, Hoys Koppie and the CBD (during the day)
- Random foot patrols in the CBD (during the night)
- Regular ‘sweep operations’ (Piet se Bos, cliff path, Mossel River)
- Night observations | Listening posts (hotspot areas)
- Mobile response teams (available on a 24|7 basis)
- Non-invasive drone deployment (when the situation requires), and
- Surveillance via an expanding CCTV-platform.
The operational team relies heavily on intelligence that comes from HPP’s control centre, neighbourhood watch groups, private security companies and the public in general.
This team works closely with our local SAPS and Municipal Law Enforcement on an ongoing basis, but specifically during joint operations, which also involve neighbourhood watch groups and private security companies.
HPP produces monthly performance reports that provide a quick read on crime | incident statistics during a particular month. These reports are distributed via WhatsApp and e-mail and posted on the HPP-website. A certain level of detail is also captured in the monthly HPP Newsletters, which are distributed via the same platforms.
During the period under review HPP embarked on a comprehensive overhaul of its CCTV-network, the modernisation of infrastructure, and the installation of several new cameras.
We have commenced the implementation of a cloud-based AI (artificial intelligence) system, which has licence plate, vehicle recognition and other capabilities. New software will result in our existing camera-network to be much more functional and fit-for-purpose.
HPP currently monitors 50 cameras, of which 9 are in the CBD, 13 in the Old Industrial area, 23 in various neighbourhoods, and 5 on the mountain.
Since November 2020, we have replaced 5 old technology cameras and installed 16 new LPR (licence plate recognition) cameras. The LPR-cameras provide us with the capability to identify and track vehicles from the entrance to Hermanus (Stanford side) all the way through to the Sandbaai |Hemel and Aarde crossing.
Our control centre is linked to the NAVIC (National Vehicle Identification Cloud) system, which provides HPP with information relating to stolen vehicles, suspect vehicles or vehicles previously involved in crime. As part of the fight against crime, we make this information available to the SAPS, Law Enforcement agencies and selected members of the various neighbourhood watch groups.
In line with industry trends, HPP shall continue to invest in technology during the next four years.
HPP is responsible for litter collection and removal along the cliff path (Grotto Beach to the New Harbour), Hoys Koppie and Bekker’s Park. This service is provided by Iphupha Cleaning and Clearing Services, which is a 100% local and Black female-owned micro enterprise.
This portfolio, under the competent leadership of Ann Wright, has also been transformed. Whereas previously the focus was on litter collection, Ann has added an educational component. Working with local schools, Ann seeks to promote environmental awareness through a variety of interventions (such as art competitions amongst others).
On Saturday 5 June 2021 HPP, in collaboration with the Overstrand Municipality and various businesses and interest groups, conducted a successful clean-up operation from Grotto Beach to Hawston to celebrate World Environment Day. Further similar operations are being planned.
HPP plays an important role in forging collaboration with the SAPS, municipal Law Enforcement, and other players in the security industry. It also acts as an informal advisor to the two new SRAs (Onrus | Vermont and Kleinmond) on matters relating to public safety and technology.
HPP is always keen to learn, and regularly links up with Cape Town CIDs and other leading SRAs to seek best practice examples.
Overstrand Public Safety Forum (OPSF)
Represented by two directors, HPP was a key player in the recent establishment of the OPSF. The latter seeks to create a collaboration platform to facilitate effective crime prevention amongst constituents in the safety and security industry throughout the Greater Hermanus.
Operating under the leadership of the local SAPS Cluster Commander, Municipal Law Enforcement has joined forces with HPP, Cape Nature, private security companies, the two new SRAs, farm watch groups, the Community Safety Unit, and neighbourhood watch groups across the Greater Hermanus to provide an integrated response to possible threats.
Whilst the foundation has been established, much work must still be done to ensure seamless functioning.
The Hermanus Public Private Partnership (PPP), which started out during 2019, is a collaborative arrangement between the Overstrand Municipality and private sector companies, community groupings and individuals.
The aim of the Triple P is to drive projects that will result in local economic development, investment, and job creation.
At this stage, the Hermanus Triple P focuses on the following initiatives:
- Revitalisation of the Hermanus Old Town
- Public safety (CBD in particular)
- Cleansing and beautification (Old Town in particular)
- The feasibility of a Hermanus Innovation Hub.
By virtue of its role in public safety and cleansing, HPP is an important member of the Triple P – initiative.
Measuring HPP’s Performance
Any business should on a regular basis determine the level of satisfaction of its customers if it wants to retain customers and grow the business. The same logic applies to HPP. As a service provider, we must know how satisfied our ‘customers’ are with HPP’s level of service and the perceived ‘value for money’.
The HPP Satisfaction Survey was conducted online from 28th May – 28th June 2021. The 5-minute survey was promoted to residents via the monthly newsletter, email and HPP WhatsApp groups. The intention of the survey was to determine the general opinion of Hermanus SRA ratepayers regarding the service provided by HPP. The purpose of the survey is to assist the Board in determining what improvements can be made and the issues residents would like to see addressed in the coming year.
The survey contained 17 questions focusing on HPP services: including overall satisfaction; knowledge of the HPP; communication methods and quality; visibility of the patrollers, responsiveness, and professionalism; cleanliness of the cliff path and Hoys Koppie and most important, value for money. The last question gave respondents the opportunity to raise any other comments or concerns.
Just over 5% of HSRA-ratepayers responded with the majority answering very positively across the board. Although a small sample, HPP now has a baseline to work from.
Overall, HSRA-ratepayers are satisfied with the services provided, with 68% being very satisfied. A further 30% indicated that they were satisfied with the services, which provides a combined score of 98%.
A highlight of the survey revealed that 91% of respondents perceive HPP to play an important role in preventing crime.
Generally, communications from the HPP, which include the monthly newsletter and performance report, were rated as good with 85% of ratepayers wanting to receive monthly communications. A noted concern was that compared to a year ago, some respondents had the same or just a little knowledge about HPP, its strategies and ongoing accomplishments.
The visibility of HPP-patrols was rated as very visible by 196 respondents, with over 75% rating the effectiveness, professionalism and support of the foot and vehicle patrols as good.
Cleanliness of the cliff path and Hoys Koppie was rated as good by 174 respondents with a few concerns being raised about cleanliness in the CBD over weekends, areas off the cliff path and around the Koppie. Unleashed dogs and owners not picking up after their pets and disposing of dog waste was also a frequently raised concern.
Over 75% of ratepayers view the service as excellent value for money.
The most frequently raised issues included vagrants in the CBD, informal car guards, the expansion of the CCTV-network, and visibility of foot patrollers and weekend cleansing in the CBD. Many respondents left comments of thanks and support for the HPP.
Gazing into the Crystal Ball
It is becoming increasingly difficult to predict the future and to plan given uncertainty at all levels.
However, if we were to peep into the future, we anticipate that the influx of people to Hermanus will continue, and crime will surge (fuelled by syndicates and the high level of unemployment). This scenario will place added pressure on the SAPS, law enforcement agencies and HPP to deal effectively with an ever-changing situation.
Given the fact that crime has no boundaries, HPP may have to create a layer of security outside of the HSRA-boundaries to safe-guard the HSRA. This added layer will be technology-based.
Against the backdrop of the growing vagrant and homeless people problem, and the impact this problem has on the CBD, we envisage that HPP will start playing a role with respect to social upliftment and development. Several Cape Town-based SRAs and CIDs are already doing this.
In closing, and on behalf of the Board, I would like to thank
- Property owners within the HSRA-boundaries for their continued and amazing support (financially and in kind)
- The Overstrand Municipality for their guidance and support
- Our service providers (Fidelity ADT, Iphupha Cleaning & Clearing Services and Whale Coast Computers).
Specifically, I would like to thank the members of the Board and our Executive Officer for their incredible effort and commitment during the past 10 months. Anything is possible when you have a good team!
It remains our goal to position HPP-NPC as the gold standard for SRA-management companies in the Western Cape.
In closing, I would also like to thank Barry van Vuren and Brigitte Sabbe for their contribution as directors during the period under review. Both had to resign from the HPP-Board for health reasons. It is worth mentioning that Barry was the person who initiated the HPP-transformation process.
We also said goodbye to Hennie Niemand, who held the HPP-manager role for almost 11 years.
Until next year. Stay safe and healthy.
Errol van Staden
13 September 2021