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HPP on the edge

Security services in the Hermanus CBD and on the Cliff Path could be suspended by January next year if Hermanus Public Protection (HPP) do not receive alternative funds.

This is according to a joint press statement by HPP and the Hermanus SRA (Special Ratings Area) Steering Committee, in which they appeal to residents of the affected Ward 3 area to make donations toward the running costs of HPP. HPP was started 20 years ago through the old City Improvement District bylaw, which according to the Overstrand Municipality could no longer be used as a vehicle to fund HPP as new regulations for the SRA model were promulgated in 2016.

Funding for HPP was terminated at the end of June this year after the Overstrand Municipality halted the levy collection. “As a result, HPP currently has no guaranteed income. Operations are funded from dwindling cash reserves and voluntary contributions,” reads the statement.

HPP has since terminated some of its services, including the cleaning services along the Cliff Path and Hoy’s Koppie. HPP, however, still provides foot patrols along the Cliff Path, the CBD, Hoy’s Koppie and the suburbs within the HPP-area, bicycle patrols (mainly suburbs), vehicle patrols (day and night) and surveillance via 19 cameras.

The statement goes on to say that the number of foot patrollers throughout the HPP-area has already been reduced. “There is a strong likelihood that most or even all foot and bicycle patrols will be suspended (including on the Cliff Path) by the end of December 2019 if property owners do not make voluntary contributions to HPP. Crime prevention and public safety could be highly compromised.”

While HPP is requesting donations, the Hermanus SRA steering committee is working towards the establishment of an SRA to solve the HPP funding problem.

“Everyone understands that a security gap would be incredibly harmful to the stability of Hermanus,” says Michael Farr, chairperson of the Hermanus SRA steering committee. He says in order to ensure there is no security gap, an SRA needs to be established as soon as possible. An SRA aims to top up on municipal services, including safety and security, through an additional property rate (similar to the previous City Improvement District) and would be the new funding vehicle for HPP. The Hermanus SRA steering committee aims to submit its formal application to the Overstrand Municipality in February next year and if approved, would take effect on 1 July 2020.

The SRA would comprise of the Hermanus suburbs between Swartdam Road and Stil Street in the west and 17th Avenue in the east. These include the New Harbour, Westcliff, Westdene, Industria, Northcliff, the Central Business District, Eastcliff, Hermanus Heights, Fernkloof, Kwaaiwater and Voëlklip.

This area has about 5 500 ratepayers within the boundaries. Farr says the SRA steering committee is currently busy with the required perception survey which will inform the SRA business plan.

The perception survey is in its second week and about 13% of the 5 500 property owners have already completed the survey. “We need at least 20% of property owners to complete it before we can hold a public meeting,” says Farr.

He says a public meeting is planned for December or January, after which property owners can put the matter to vote. If 50% plus one vote in favour, a formal application can be made. The new SRA will have “more or less” the same services as the previous model, but with a bigger emphasis on vehicular patrols rather than foot-patrols.

Visit www.hermanussra.co.za for the survey and for more information.

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