Meeting to discuss Penzance’s status

YOLANDE DU PREEZ

A public meeting to be held next week Tuesday, September 20 will determine if Penzance will become the 36th special rating area (SRA) in Cape Town.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said the City of Cape Town was advising and guiding the Penzance applicants on the pro- cess to ensure legal compli- ance.

The idea is the brainchild of Penzance resident and Community Crime Prevention (CCP) executive director, Keri Cross, who decided something had to be done about the crime in her area after her neighbour was stabbed in his house by five youths four years ago.

She walked from door to door asking neighbours and residents to make an extra monthly contribution into a club account to safeguard the neighbourhood and so the Penzance Club was established.

Since inception, 17 security cameras have been put up and are monitored 24 hours a day. The club has its own Facebook page, WhatsApp and email group. Ms Cross claimed Penzance had been crime free for a year.

“We are just a group of like-minded individuals contributing to a safer environment and many other residents want the same for their areas,” she said.

The group had decided that in order to be sustainable, it needed to establish an SRA. It surveyed Penzance residents to see if they backed the idea, and Ms Cross claims 82 percent did. A business plan was then drawn up.

An SRA , governed by various pieces of legislation, is a neighbourhood where property own- ers pay more rates to fund “top-up” services – described in a busi- ness plan – for that specific area.

Mr Smith said a steering committee will discuss the business plan of the Penzance applicants with the community during the public meeting and only then will the steering committee attempt to obtain the required 60 percent community support required to allow such an application to be submitted.

“The City will audit the submitted application to ensure that it is legally compliant and valid and an opportunity will then be given to property owners to object to the establishment of an SRA.

“Once this process has been completed, a comprehensive report will be submitted to council to consider the establishment or not of the Penzance SRA,” Mr Smith said.

He said after the City had approved the application, a non profit company (NPC) is set up and a board elected. The NPC has to register for VAT, open a bank account and be registered as a vendor with the City.

The City, he said, prefers an NPC instead of a non-profit organisation (NPO) as the Companies Act, which dictates certain governance matters such as AGMs, quorums, and financial reporting would apply.

“This will entitle property owners to be involved in the running of the SRA by becoming company members. Each property owner who is then registered as an NPC member would be allowed to participate and vote at NPC meet- ings.

“They would also be able to elect a board of directors who would manage the SRA in accordance with the approved business plan and the board would be responsible for the management of the SRA and would be accountable to the community,” he said.