Chairperson Report - 2022
Dear HPP-NPC Member,
I have pleasure in submitting my report for the period commencing 1 July 2021 and ending 30 June 2022. The report is also available on the HPP-website (www.hpp.org.za).
When I look back at the 2021 | 2022 financial year, I am happy to report that we have met and exceeded the milestones that were set.
Overall, we received positive feedback from our ‘customers’. We listened to the feedback you gave via the satisfaction survey. We shall incorporate recommendations to enhance the service in the coming year.
Whereas HPP has gone through a process of transformation during the past three years, the focus during the last few months has been the transition of HPP to new leadership. I am confident that the new team will take HPP ‘from good to great’.
Hermanus SRA Overview
A Special Rating Area (SRA) refers to a clearly defined geographical area, in which property owners contribute additional rates to enhance and supplement municipal services, such as safety in public areas, cleansing services and crime prevention.
As the management body of the Hermanus Special Rating Area, it is the HPP’s aim to implement the HSRA mandate to improve the public environment to the benefit of all by supplementing municipal services, determined by the community, to ensure, in a sustainable manner, a safe, healthy, caring and clean environment for residents and visitors.
The HSRA is funded from the additional rates paid by property owners, based on municipal valuation of properties, within the boundary of the SRA. It does not receive any grants or subsidies from the Overstrand Municipality but does have the powers to raise additional income.
HPP is a registered non-profit company that was formally established in 1999. It functions under the leadership of a Board of Directors, who are not compensated for their time or expertise.
In terms of the Overstrand Municipality’s SRA-policy, the HSRA has a 5-year term (July 2020 – June 2025). Having entered its third year, its property owners would have to go to the polls during 2024 to vote in favour of the continuation of the HSRA for a further 5 years.
Two more SRAs became operational in the Overstrand during 2022: Onrus | Vermont SRA and the Kleinmond SRA. The three SRAs collaborate on issues of mutual interest.
Risk and Opportunity
I would like to take you back to a paragraph in last year’s annual report:
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.
Not much has changed. According to the IMF and World Economic Forum the globe is heading for a recession, compounded by the Russian War in the Ukraine. We have already felt the impact through significant fuel and food price increases.
At a local level, we remain concerned about joblessness, crime and the increase in vagrancy. Business owners in the CBD are worried about the safety of their patrons, especially after dark. In some instances, visitors are advised to exercise caution when visiting restaurants at night. This is not good.
If the Overstrand Municipality wants to encourage local economic development, Hermanus (and the CBD in particular) must become a safe destination. It is extremely difficult to regain the trust of an investor or a visitor once you have lost it. And word spreads quickly.
The opportunity lies in significantly increased collaboration, accountability and sustained action amongst all local players in the crime prevention domain.
HPP is acutely aware of the need for ongoing and transparent communication. To this end, we publish monthly newsletters that are circulated via WhatsApp and e-mail. These newsletters are also available on the HPP-website (www.hpp.org.za).
In addition, HPP produces monthly performance reports that provide a quick read on crime | incident statistics during a particular month. As is the case with the monthly newsletters, these reports are distributed via several platforms.
As has become custom, the Board met every second month for a formal Board meeting during the period under review. The minutes of these meetings are available on the HPP-website (www.hpp.org.za).
HSRA Quarterly Review Meetings
A sub-committee of the Board met with the Overstrand Municipality’s CFO (Chief Financial Officer) and her team on a quarterly basis. The agenda focuses in the main on compliance with the Finance Agreement, governance and the achievement of milestones as per the implementation plan.
The audited HPP-financial results for the period under review are available on the HPP-website (www.hpp.org.za).
HPP-reserves remain healthy. Our normal revenue stream received from Overstrand Municipality was supplemented by some excellent donations from ratepayers. This enabled us to accelerate our camera installation programme. It also meant that we could replace more of the older, outdated infrastructure.
Our main objective remains to spend funds where it will achieve optimal returns for our ratepayers. Hermanus, like any other urban growth area, has changing needs and it is important that HPP continuously adapt to respond to such changes. We have therefore already started to revisit our service contracts to find future solutions that will yield best value.
This critical portfolio was led by director Theuns Coetzee until April 2022, when he relocated to Hartenbos. Under his leadership, HPP experienced significant growth as far as the employment of technology goes.
HPP employs a mixed approach to crime prevention and detection in the HSRA. Visible patrols, on foot and in branded vehicles as well as surveillance using an IP (internet protocol) camera network and a drone, together are valuable and effective in the protection of public spaces.
The most visible presence of HPP is the bright red bibs and caps, with the easily identifiable HPP-logo that our public safety officers wear. They are in constant radio contact with the HPP’s 24|7 manned control centre. HPP foot patrols focus on high pedestrian traffic areas as well as crime hotspots around the Hermanus CBD.
HPP’s integrated crime prevention solution includes:
- Specialized Response Unit vehicle patrols (24|7)
- Control Centre monitors (24|7)
- Control Centre Hotline (24|7)
- Foot patrols along the cliff path, Hoys Koppie and the CBD (during the day)
- Random foot patrols in the CBD (at 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
- Monitoring via an expanding IP Camera Network-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.
During the period under review HPP embarked on an intensive installation of several new cameras, mostly funded by suburbs. The response and generous support from the residents in the suburbs of Fernkloof, Eastcliff, Westcliff and Voëlklip has exceeded the planned growth of the camera network and has brought strategic cameras online far sooner than anticipated.
HPP currently monitors over 110 cameras located at 67 sites, of which 9 are in the CBD, 9 in the Old Industrial area, 44 in various neighbourhoods, and 5 on the mountain. An additional 20 sites across the HRSA will be coming online in the coming months. The IP (internet protocol) camera network is an active deterrent that reduces crime and is a powerful investigative tool and aid in decision-making.
The IP camera network is monitored 24|7, using both human controllers and intelligent software using video analytics. The video analytics allows for the optimization of resources, allowing controllers to focus on hotspots while alerts notify controllers when there is unusual activity in a quieter area. This has created an expanded reach, better evidence and more informed patrolling and increased safety.
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. The intelligence software systems offer appearance search which aids in tracking people or vehicles. As part of the fight against crime, we use this information to assist SAPS, Law Enforcement agencies, neighbourhood watch groups and security companies through radio communications to investigate.
During May 2022, HPP invested in a state-of-the-art drone which forms part of HPP’s crime prevention plan. The drone, which can be operated during day and night, is an additional tool to help quickly detect threats and provide aerial images in real-time. This new addition to the monitoring capabilities of HPP, will allow us to combat crime, assist search and rescue missions while supporting emergency services, Law Enforcement and local Police.
HPP has supply agreements with three local suppliers:
- Fidelity ADT – Operations
- Whale Coast Computers – Technology
- Iphupha Cleaning and Clearing Services – Litter collection and removal.
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-owned micro enterprise.
This portfolio, under the competent leadership of Ann Wright, has continued it sterling performance.
HPP continues to collaborate with the Cliff Path Management Group and Overstrand Municipality to address the increasing amount of litter including dog waste along the Cliff Path. New signage reminding dog owners of their legal obligations, to keep their dogs on a leash and clean up their dog’s waste, have been installed along the busiest parts of the path.
In line with HPP’s on-going drive to educate the public on the need to protect our environment and to keep our town free of litter, HPP sponsored an environmental morning at a school holiday programme run by the Sustainable Futures Trust. It was a most successful morning and well received by the girls.
Late last year, HPP invited the children from the Enlighten Trust’s art classes to participate in an anti-litter campaign using the three components of environmentally-responsible behaviour – Reduce Reuse Recycle to create unique art pieces. The display of their work was held to coincide with World Clean-up Day. Guests, parents and the press were invited to view their masterpieces. HPP awarded each ‘artist’ with an Eco warrior medal and Enlighten Trust presented them with a certificate.
In December, HPP with Fynbos Gardens and the Cliff Path Management Group completed clearing a portion of the Cliff Path and flower beds near the Marine Hotel of alien invasive plants and overgrowth. The project included training for local unemployed youths. We look forward to coordinating similar projects in the near future.
As part of a security awareness campaign, HPP hosted a briefing session on security tips and self-defence for ladieson 1 December. The session was well attended with many of the participants requesting additional information and a desire to attend future workshops.
HPP earlier joined the Onrus | Vermont and Kleinmond SRAs to form the Overstrand SRA Forum.
Functioning under the leadership of a rotating chairperson, the forum provides a platform to:
- Exchange information on challenges that are common to the three SRAs
- Share examples of good practice (lessons learnt from other SRAs or CIDs)
- Collate and share intelligence that could provide a better picture of crime across the three SRAs (e.g. emerging trends)
- Exchange notes on procurement processes | appointment of service providers
- Agree on a joint approach to the OM, specifically with relation to policies and bylaws that impact the SRAs
- Drive an annual joint meeting with the OM’s CFO and her team.
HPP conducted its first satisfaction survey during June 2021. This online survey, which provided baseline data in respect of key performance parameters, was repeated during June 2022.
This year 475 ratepayers responded to the survey, which represent 9% of the HRSA property owners – a 4% increase on the 276 responses received during the 2021 survey.
Overall, 98% of the HSRA ratepayers are satisfied with the services provided, with 63.3% being very satisfied. A highlight of the survey revealed that 87.5% of respondents perceive the HPP to play an important role in preventing crime.
Generally, communications from the HPP which include the monthly newsletter and performance report were rated by 88% (compared to 85% in 2021) of respondents as good, with most ratepayers wanting to receive monthly communications.
The visibility of HPP patrols was rated as very visible by 304 respondents, with over 66% rating the effectiveness, professionalism and support of the foot and vehicle patrols as good. However, in the general feedback, visibility of patrols was raised as a concern and some respondents felt that HPP patrollers were less visible than in previous years.
Cleanliness of the cliff path and Hoy’s Koppie was rated as good by 296 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 71% of ratepayers view HPP’s contribution as excellent value for money.
Almost half of the incidents that HPP public safety officers attend to daily are related to resolving public complaints regarding informal car guards, vagrancy, and public disorder.
Most of the incidents occur in the Hermanus CBD, although increasingly more people are now moving into the suburban areas to seek shelter, food and collect domestic waste for recycling.
It has become evident that a coordinated approach to addressing homelessness and poverty driven activities in our area is required. The HPP Board therefore decided to engage Luceo Solutions, experts in the field of social upliftment, to consult on the issue.
Based on our interaction with the consultant, we identified 3 aspects that need to be addressed – not all fall within the direct mandate of HPP. These are:
- Developmental solutions (e.g., social upliftment, night shelter facilities, job creation, etc.)
- Security based solutions (e.g., creating a safer environment for businesses and their patrons during the evening, afterhours HPP patrolling in CBD, etc.)
- Urban management adjustments (e.g., improved parking management, strategic fencing, etc.).
HPP subsequently met with the Mayor and relevant OM-leaders to share our recommendations. It was a productive meeting and OM undertook to engage with several stakeholders to find a solution for the aspects that fall within their direct mandate. OM and the organised business fraternity are already in conversation on several matters of mutual concern, the overall stability and safety within the CBD will be included in the agenda of such discussions.
Based on these discussions, HPP increased patrols in the CBD area in the evenings. This will hopefully assist to improve safety around restaurants and shops in the CBD.
HPP donated towards improvements at the Hermanus Night Shelter in support of their official opening in May. HPP supports the initiative which provides much needed assistance to the homeless in the area.
Changing of the Guard
After a stint of three years with HPP, Tobie Louw and I will step down at the September AGM. The associated vacancies will be filled by Jerry van Niekerk (as Chair) and Leon Rauch (as Director Finance).
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
- The Overstrand Municipality for their continued guidance and support
- Our service providers (Fidelity ADT, Whale Coast Computers and Iphupha Cleaning and Clearing Services).
At a personal level, I would like to thank the members of the Board and our Executive Officer for their incredible effort and commitment during the past year. A special word of thanks goes to Tobie, who stepped in and led when he noticed that my professional workload was high.
And finally, I would like to wish the incoming Board-members all the best. You have been carefully chosen. The table has been laid. A next chapter is about to begin.
Errol van Staden
13 September 2022