The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) has accused the City of misleading the public about a master plan to roll out CCTV cameras across the city. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - City council speaker Dirk Smit has come out in support of mayco member for safety and security JP Smith after he was accused of misleading the public over the CCTV master plan.

“I have noted recent media reports which have accused Smith of lying about the existence of a CCTV master plan.

“As these are public accusations being made against a councillor of the City of Cape Town, and which may, in terms of the code of conduct for councillors, compromise the credibility and integrity of the municipality, I engaged Alderman Smith on the matter and was provided with a comprehensive response which counters these allegations and which shows that the City formulated a CCTV master plan in 2008, which underwent revision in 2011 and again in 2013. I am therefore satisfied that Smith has been truthful in his public comments to the press regarding this matter,” Smit said.

The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) accused Smith of misleading the public about a master plan to roll out CCTV cameras across the city. This comes after the SJC made a formal Public Access to Information Act application to gain access to the master plan. 

Two weeks ago, they received a response from the City’s deputy information officer. The correspondence informed them that the record they applied for, the City’s CCTV master plan “does not exist”. 

According to the SJC this meant that the City had been spending money on installing, maintaining and monitoring CCTV cameras with no clear plan or strategy.

A CCTV master plan’s purpose would be to give clear direction on the use of CCTV cameras. The City’s CCTV surveillance plan is one of its plans to try to stop crime in certain areas.

The City has previously maintained that it does have a CCTV master plan, but it is currently being revised to take into account crime statistics and population figures. However, in a written affidavit by the City’s deputy information officer Jill Fabing it confirms that there is no plan.

“The record in question was sourced from several internal departments including the information systems and technology falling within the corporate services directorate, which is inter alia responsible for records such as telecommunications services. I was subsequently informed by City official Thomas Bosman, manager: telecommunications that “there is no master plan”."

Smith said the master plan was available to the public. “The matter is in the public domain and the SJC saying that they have requested the master plan is a blatant lie. They are desperately trying to taint our organisation and trying to keep relevant.”

Head of policy and research at the SJC Dalli Weyers said: “At this stage it’s simple, if it exists then publish it, it can be old or outdated or under review.”

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Cape Argus