Cape Town - The seaside suburb of Llandudno has reduced crime to virtually zero thanks to its Special Rates Area (SRA).
Former chairperson and current director of the SRA, Kiki Loubser, said it was established six years ago and levies an additional amount on each owner’s monthly rates bill which is collected by the City of Cape Town as part of its monthly billing system and then paid back to Llandudno.
“The money is spent in the boundaries of Llandudno on cleaning the pavements, verges, car park, pathways to the beach as well as the beach itself to complement municipal services.
“The most significant expenditure is the extensive security monitoring, detection and prevention initiatives throughout,” she said.
“This was done by volunteers setting up our systems, for which we are extremely grateful.”
Loubser said each community that establishes an SRA can choose what each rand is spent on.
This means that the SRA is “value for money” and gives communities some form of self-governance.
Some projects the Llandudno SRA intends looking at in future include upliftment projects in the greater Hout Bay area, including Imizamu Yethu and Hangberg.
Residents are charged less than 10% of their municipal rates and while Loubser admits that no one can ever guarantee a crime-free suburb, this goes a long way towards residents’ peace of mind.
Llandudno has 321 registered properties and the combined value of the properties is in excess of R40 billion. “The further benefit of a compulsory levy is that the future income stream of the entity is certain.
“It enables longer decision-making time frames, so we are able to enter into long-term agreements with service providers.
“Ratepayer organisations with an uncertain future income stream comprising voluntary ad-hoc contributions are not in a position to enter into these agreements with service providers,” she said.
A further benefit of the SRA mechanism are the assurances embedded within it as the entire process of establishment and ongoing running of an SRA is governed by the Companies Act, as well as the City of Cape Town’s SRA bylaw.
“In a country where corruption and state capture have become embedded in our society, this is an important aspect.
“Not only is the entity held to be financially accountable in that it is committed to not overspend on its budgets and so on, it is also held accountable to ensure that what the entity committed to achieve it in fact does, and within the committed time frames,” said Loubser.
While she encourages other areas to establish their own SRAs, she is mindful of the affordability issue, which is a concern in many areas.
“The SRA contribution in Llandudno is in fact 9%-odd of the municipal rates, so affordability issues relate more to the affordability of municipal rates. In order to be fiscally prudent and to limit costs, we accordingly fund hardware such as security cameras by means of private donations wherever possible and fund ongoing expenditure via the SRA levy.”
Deputy mayor and mayco member for finance Ian Nielsen confirmed that there were 43 SRAs across Cape Town. Suburbs wanting to become SRAs can do so by applying to the City of Cape Town.