Cape Town - A growing and vibrant CBD like Cape Town’s has to address the critical issue of safety before it becomes a 24-hour economy such as New York or Cairo.
At its annual general meeting this week, Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) acknowledged that the increasing number of people would mean the city was moving towards an around the clock economy.
“The central city is probably at this stage more of an 18-hour day CBD. But we’re fast moving towards that 24-hour around the clock downtown,” said chairperson Rob Kane.
He also emphasised the need for support and partnerships.
“The CBD today is very different from what it was even just three years ago. The footfall that now comes into the central city in terms of an after-hours economy - from the entertainment sector to businesses that operate at night such as call centres and medical facilities - is increasing and growing rapidly from year to year.”
According to Kane, internationally, a 24-hour CBD begins with a normal “8 to 5” workday.
From here, it moves on to the early evening when office workers and other downtowners turn their attention to the leisure hours, with shops that stay open after normal hours, and into “dinner time” as restaurants fill up or people go to the theatre, movie houses, clubs and bars, often until the early hours of the morning.
CCID chief executive Tasso Evangelinos said on an average weekend night, or even on many weekday nights, the central city handled large volumes of people - from the proliferation of new restaurants to the increasing number of call centre staff.
“And this is about much more than just the entertainment sector. It’s about economic growth, investment, jobs, the retention of existing business and the creation of new ones across various sectors.
“As we move towards a 24-hour CBD, it’s crucial that we find effective and practical solutions to manage it well. And this requires collaboration,” Evangelinos said.
On the public sector side, the CCID would need support from the City of Cape Town and the police, while the private sector side included business and property owners as well as residents of the central city.
But Evangelinos said in addition to the CCID’s safety and security personnel’s daily operational demands, it’s priorities to help move the central city into a 24-hour economy would include strategic visible deployment, using technology to improve safety, enforcing by-laws and alleviating peak-hour traffic.
In the last financial year, the CCID, with law enforcement partners, made 850 arrests, and issued fines totalling R22million for various offences, of which R16m was for traffic fines.
Through a collaboration with the Western Cape government’s Chrysalis Academy, an awareness project on ATM fraud was launched this year with the deployment of students at 23 hot spots to prevent crime and to heighten education.