Newsflash

Public Spaces Security Frequently Asked Questions

By Dec 3, 2019 Dec 19th, 2019 No Comments

Further to our announcement of the termination of the current PSS scheme circulated on 29 November 2019, we have received a number of questions from residents, and have therefore put together a short FAQ which will hopefully assist residents in understanding this development

Why has the scheme moved from an exclusive, single provider model to a more all-embracing approach?

  • In short, the default service offering of security companies around Johannesburg has morphed from the ‘sit under a tree and respond’ model of 10 years ago, to actively patrolling the area in which they have armed response clients, thereby proactively identifying and investigating suspicious activity they come across on their patrols, as a matter of routine. Therefore, the split between armed response services and public space patrols is an artificial one.
  • Due to the very diverse and heterogenous community of the CRA area, there are currently 5 security providers operating in its boundaries. Given that these security providers run an active patrolling service they are all, in essence, taking on public space security as mentioned above.  These 5 companies are:

ADT

Beagle Watch

CAP

Cortac

24/7

  • There is currently no formalised co-ordination between these companies to collaborate and pool resources and share information to the benefit of our community. In light of this, the current PSS model was re-evaluated and adapted to PSSv2. The CRA’s intention with this new model is, amongst other things, to:
    • insist upon cooperation between security companies operating in its area
    • embrace competitive free market capitalist forces
    • provide an informed endorsement and grading of participating providers on no less than an annual basis

in order to encourage all service providers to do their bit for our community’s public space security.

  • Therefore an armed response (individual home security) provider continues to remain each resident’s personal choice, however, these providers are expected to monitor and police the public space as part of such a service offering.
  • It is important to remember that less than 25% of the community within the CRA boundaries EVER contributed to the scheme. This means that the security companies who were not chosen as the exclusive scheme provider were in an easier position to refute and relegate any responsibility for the public space. The CRA wishes to inculcate a sense of accountability and responsibility for the public space in ALL security companies receiving income from residents within CRA boundaries.
  • It should be mentioned that in the last few years fewer than 10 interventions or arrests have been made in our public space by the security providers in our area, including our current PSS provider. This is a further indication that the current model does not appear to be effective in combating crime.

What are the payment implications?

  • Residents who are part of the current PSS scheme pay a monthly debit order donation, which varies quite significantly between those donors who had signed up when the scheme first started and more recent donors, as CAP has, at its discretion, allowed residents to donate anywhere between R170 and R420. Long-standing donors originally paid monthly into a CRA account. Early in 2018 this account was ceded by the CRA to CAP, when the latter became the PSS providers. Since then the CRA has had no direct control over these monies. Newer donors pay into a CAP account, although the PSS money is collected in the name of the CRA.
  • The only amount paid to the CRA is the annual Association membership amount, which is R800 for standard membership; R400 for pensioners and R1200 for businesses and body corporates. Membership dues are not related to, and have nothing to do with, public space security.

What are the payment implications for me?

  • As the CRA’s contract terminates with CAP on 1 March 2020, they will not be able to collect donations on behalf of, nor in the name of, the CRA.
  • The CRA no longer endorses a model that requires residents to pay anything extra for the patrol and protection of the broader public space, over and above their standard payment to their armed response provider.
  • Residents who are currently part of the PSS scheme should request that CAP cancel their current PSS debit order by no later than 1 March 2020.

The funding of PSSv2 

  • From 1 March 2020 all security providers who have a presence in the area, and those providers who choose to participate in the scheme will be asked to contribute to PSSv2 funds (into a CRA account ring-fenced for security).
  • The PSS funding therefore shifts from residents’ paying EXTRA in the form of donations, to security providers’ contributing back a very small percentage of residents’ security spend with them to an account to be used for security-related capital expenditure and/or special projects (e.g. fencing parks or procuring additional foot patrols when there are robbery surges in Delta Park)
  • THE CRA THEREBY REGAINS DIRECT CONTROL OVER THE PSSV2 FUNDS FOR THE SECURITY NEEDS OF THE COMMUNITY 

Who decides on what the security needs are?

  • The survey conducted by the Community Needs portfolio has already provided a good deal of feedback on community security needs. Ongoing surveys will establish how the community wants to spend PPSv2 funds going forward.

Is this some sort of issue with CAP as PSS provider in particular?

  • CAP has an armed reaction business in the CRA area that makes it one of the largest security providers in our boundaries. We expect that it will continue its hard work to provide a quality security service.
  • As mentioned above, the CRA has struggled with effective management of, and resident participation in, the PSS scheme and the overarching philosophy of a separate public space scheme and its challenges with CAP are for the most part no different to those experienced with previous sole providers of the PSS scheme.

I’ve heard there was some contentiousness surrounding the election of the new CRA committee. Is this change related to that?

  • It is true that the incoming and outgoing CRA committees had some differences surrounding the AGM and in this regard there has been some unfortunate mud-slinging on social media.
  • The current committee has not engaged in any such unfortunate fracas and has simply got on with business including reinstating newsletters, engaging ever more actively in town planning issues, arranging community events such as the Spruit Day, updating the membership database and taking an innovative approach to surveying and understanding resident’s needs. It has also established an unprecedented comity with surrounding residents’ associations and the Parkview Community Police Forum on issues of crime and security.
  • Above all, PSSv2 was an initiative conceived and developed during the previous committee’s term, presented at the last AGM and carried forward by the current committee. In this regard, there has been continuity and the decision is not contentious.

Please contact the security team on security@cra.org.za with any further questions so they can provide you with detailed information.