Chairmans Report 2006
CHAIRMAN’S REPORT 2005 – 2006
30th Annual General Meeting – June 2006
It’s always pleasant to start off my report to the Annual General Meeting with lots of good news – that way it’s something to look forward to.I’m afraid though that in recent months we are finding major problems affecting both the security and town planning issues in our suburbs and therefore our concern about the safety of our families and friends and indeed the value of our properties – all this has become very prominent in peoples minds.
Firstly, I would like to introduce our guests – we’re delighted to have Peter Bruce, the well known Editor of the Business Day (in my view a premier newspaper in South Africa) and his new fledgling, the Weekender.Then there’s Senior Superintendent Moodley of the Parkview Police Station precinct who is known to many of you and who will be giving us an update on the security situation in Craighall and Craighall Park, and his colleague Director Jenny Naidoo who is in charge of Area Police (many police stations), Ian Ollis, our new and approachable Councillor who recently took over from Judy Stockill and then Richard Dancer, the Chairman of the CPF in the Parkview precinct.And last but not least the journalist from the Rosebank Gazette who covers our part of the world, namely Kate Henry.
And now as an aside, as we have many consultants helping us and working for us at this particular time I thought it would be apt for me to tell my favourite story about harassed consultants with a slight Canadian tinge, if you don’t mind.
And now, you continue to listen to a Chairman of your Association who is constitutionally out of line in that I should have given up this post some two years ago but as most of you know we haven’t been successful in finding a replacement. We now have a situation where despite plea after plea through our various ways of communicating with the community (and personal contacts – one of which nearly came off) no-one has come forward from either the executive or the community at large to take on my job.The good news is that after a recent request to residents in both suburbs we have managed to take on a further seven members to the executive committee which in itself I am most thankful for.Several of these people will be seconded to security and town planning and others to various portfolios that we have in the structure.At the same time, I am pleased to say that Peter Heritage has taken up the cudgels to handle a really thorny portfolio, namely traffic, which I have not been able to give enough time to (unfortunately he is overseas for this particular meeting but already has been coming up with some interesting suggestions and actions).As a result of my dilemma I will be proposing to you, the residents, that I continue to stay on as a Caretaker Chairman until we can find a replacement in the next six months, understanding however that the word delegation will be prominent in my mind while continuing to manage your association.This means that I will be stepping back, and I mean stepping back, although happy to direct and take on specific projects that I might have the skills to address.Your association has an excellent base and we mustn’t fritter this away.I will revisit this subject at the end of the agenda when we will elect the executive committee and office bearers for 2006/2007.
Recognising that there are people at the meeting tonight that represent the press I still need to reiterate that very little improvement has been shown in the way the city authorities support the concept of Residents Associations and I think we can say this in that we seem to have a pretty good reputation as being a strong residents association and one which is willing to assist the police and the city council in general.As I told you last year, we still have not heard from the Mayors office where we pointed out to him that residents associations have the potential ability to support him in his efforts to get closer to the tax payers of our community.Unfortunately I have met with little or no success and I can only speculate as to what the reasons for that might be.If you took all the residents associations in the city of Joburg and managed to cobble together a small practical executive committee out of that group that would meet say on a bi-yearly basis with the Mayor and his staff - he would then be getting advice and information about the city in a structured way and at little cost, if any.Alas, there has been no response and this despite President Mbeki’s continued protestations that the civil servants and politicians of the country should get much closer to the general public.By this I assume he means such organisations as residents associations who are dealing on the ground with citizens (the tax payers) who require assistance and direction.For the life of me I don’t understand why this continues to be ignored.Particularly when you understand that ratepayers associations are Apolitical and would come up with a credible analysis of what’s really going on in the city without a political agenda – but perhaps the facts would cause discomfort at City Hall.
If you would ask me what the problem is I would say that structured two way communication between various law and order departments, traffic, town planning and environment is at best puerile (in other words not very professional) and almost non-existent with bodies such as ours (in other words we operate in a vacuum).To summarise the structure is ready and waiting with competent people – so why are they not being used?
I would now like to turn to serious issues of concern that the CRA is currently faced with.With the advent of Senior Superintendent Moodley taking over Parkview there is no doubt that he was faced with significant obstacles which not only affected our suburbs but was on the increase throughout South Africa.Some say this is only perception but I frankly don’t believe that as here on the ground we have felt the anguish of many people and depending on what stats you are given in most instances it conflicts with what you experience on the ground.It should be emphasised that over the past few weeks the security strike (which is hopefully being resolved) has not helped the crime situation.We have been given a professional policeman who in my opinion is doing his level best to solve some of the many problems that Parkview must contend with and he needs our support.
The situation in Craighall Park and Craighall in recent weeks has been of major concern to me and my committee (and of course the residents) and for that reason we are putting new proposals to the residents as to how we can support the police and security companies in their endeavours to reduce the crime situation.These projects are expensive but I feel necessary as opposed to just talking about how bad the problems are and then forgetting about the subject for another day.I have established a number where out of the potential of +- 1500 homes in Craighall Park and +-300 in Craighall that between the two we would probably be able to attract some 500 to 600 contributors who would support a project which would provide a stronger security umbrella for our suburbs (this excludes businesses and flats, etc).Without naming and blaming those that don’t contribute I’m afraid this is a fact of life in most communities and that is if you find 30% who see the project as affordable and effective you will have been successful.Experience with our donated police vehicle showed us just that.If we get more, obviously this will make the project more palatable and inexpensive to the whole community.I’m hoping that this time around our two suburbs will come to the party with enthusiasm recognising the stakes that we’re playing for, i.e. the safety of your families and the value of your properties – are a given where there is no option.We have held meetings on these security issues with several organisations and have concluded that dealing with (ADT and SAS) makes the most sense in terms of current contracts within our two suburbs, the potential coverage and promised back up, and of course, the cost factor.
The CRA on their part continue to make a contribution by:
- Residents carrying out forays with their own cars (manned by Parkview Police throughout our two suburbs and Hurlingham to hopefully confuse criminals with unmarked vehicles) - and in addition to apprehend them before the crime is committed.
- Continuously attend police and CPF meetings
- Provide assistance when requested by the police which could mean financial support.
- Issuing tips to residents as to what to do to avoid criminal activity and what to do if it has already taken place.
Serious security discussions have taken place between the CRA and ADT and SAS to provide the two suburbs with an improved security umbrella. Several security companies were interviewed in our deliberations.There is no intention to interfere with your current security arrangements although the CRA will be endorsing ADT and SAS and assisting in their marketing efforts.The following are the rudiments of the CRA umbrella which still need to be fine tuned in terms of pricing.
- In the case of ADT – each suburb (Craighall and Craighall Park) will have an area bound vehicle on a 24/7 basis. In addition, there would be seven back up vehicles within immediate striking distance for further support.
- There will be five huts strategically positioned over the two suburbs and will be manned 24/7 on 12 hour shifts.The eight guards will be in a position to communicate from hut to hut and also from hut to ADT’s main control room.In addition they will have bicycles to patrol.
- To achieve this we will need 500 homes (out of 1600 plus homes) to contribute to this project.The going in position will be a commitment for 12 months and if a resident doesn’t feel that the project has assisted the crime situation then he or she is entitled to back away from the project.Remember if we all contribute we can reduce the price!Don’t leave it to a few.
- The cost will be approximately R170 a month per home for 12 months (this number is still to be finely tuned).In addition to what you are already paying for your contracted armed response.Additionally a once off R85 charge for capital equipment might be included at R7 per month.
- One of the main components of this project is that the Parkview Police and both ADT and SAS have agreed to cooperate with each other and this is vital to the success of such a project, and will be done in a structured manner, i.e. a monthly meeting between the Police and each of the security companies.
- To cover the administration with ADT, the CRA could be responsible for managing a debit order program between the residents and the Standard Bank in Hyde Park.Our Treasurer is currently working on the details and ramifications.
In the case of SAS:
- We have received positive information from residents in Craighall that SAS are doing a fine and efficient job for their suburb.
- Their proposal is that they put a dedicated vehicle into Craighall Park (there is already one in Craighall) and the only cost would be if armed response was required by a resident until such time that they achieved a penetration of 200 homes.Non contract holders with SAS would not get the same response in terms of timing as the SAS contract holders - however a telephone number would be provided to ALL residents if anyone in the suburb finds themselves in trouble and require assistance from the dedicated vehicle.It is in SAS’ interest to do the best they can for all residents for obvious reasons.A second car could be available at no cost if and when the 200 homes came aboard.
This project gives our suburbs a good balance with two competitive and successful security companies committed to our district.We would appreciate it if you feel that the project will fly, if you would fill in the questionnaire handed out to you earlier.
Domestic Watch has been a successful program between the CRA and the police particularly at the outset of the project.From time to time we were seeing 75 people coming to these meetings in Craighall Park and some 20 to 25 in Craighall.Unfortunately there was a breakdown in communication and the police were put in a situation where they required their assets for other things particularly related to immediate crime problems.As a result Margaret Stewart and Amy Allan who were looking after the program decided it would be better to change the content and to bring such things as Aids Prevention, cooking, English literacy and an element of security was continued with the Parkview Police. Unfortunately both Margaret Stewart and Amy Allan for personal reasons had to withdraw and we are now looking for someone to run this program for us.Fortunately Mike Holgate with assistance from Blyth Thompson are taking over the security portfolio from me and they intend to resuscitate this project in a different form which would include street meetings with domestics and gardeners etc, and they have some very innovative ideas to go along with this.We all understand that domestics and gardeners who work in our homes are very much a part of our suburbs and for this reason we should acknowledge this by bringing them together on issues that we all might find important.
As residents know, we have hired at the CRA’s cost a professional town planner by name of Craig Pretorius.Craig is currently guiding the plan through the required Johannesburg City Departments in line with discussions we held at the open meeting in September 2005.This meeting was backed up with the results of a questionnaire that was sent out by Lee Whitfield to residents prior to that meeting.There was in essence almost total unanimity in terms of the basis of our proposal to the city, i.e. Craighall Park in general terms currently operate at one unit per 2000sqm (with Craighall having larger properties) and we have based our new precinct plan (LDO) on no more than one unit per 1000sqm – single residential.In other words we are prepared to double up on density in relation to what we have at the moment but there are developers and town planners who are attempting to bounce this up to four units on 2000sqm or one unit per 500 sqm – in other words quadrupling the density situation.For many reasons (including precedence) this would not be good for our suburbs and as a result your committee has had to resort to legal assistance which can be expensive but we feel necessary so that we can at least say that the CRA fought the developers on the issue with all we could muster.We currently are on appeal with a property in Craighall; in addition our lawyer/advocate team have sent legal letters to the developers, the applicant, the MEC and the City setting out the flaws of another decision made in Craigahll Park where we emphasise that moving in this direction could bring havoc to our two suburbs and totally change their personality.During these negotiations and hearings etc it seems that the residents represented by the CRA are always caught between exploitation and politics and the two seem to move together somehow.
As you know excessive sub division, spawn, renovations, new developments and demolishments - you name it.All you have to do is walk around our streets to see the results.Rubble on the pavements and on the verges, excessive noise, increased traffic etc, lack of services support, not to mention crime that comes out of these building activities, particularly with illegal immigrants.
Paulette has additional strength to her arm in that we have an expert on environmental issues (Dan Sonnenberg) joining her in terms of looking at the macro situation in both our suburbs and the spruit.The part of the spruit that runs through our two suburbs is improving, particularly because of residential usage, i.e. people on walks, dogs and horses and children etc which is making the place an attractive part of the suburb.We need however to pay more attention to our inner city housekeeping and to do this with the assistance of the relevant departments at the City Council.We have Emma Morris coming on board who is prepared to assist Paulette in this regard.
Jill Weldon continues to do a great job in this area and our membership remains strong although frankly it’s still not as strong as it should be.If more of our residents came to the party (and we would hope the reason for this would be that they see value in supporting the association in the many problems that we are faced with). Believe me it’s difficult to tackle some of the problems we are confronted with as an individual and your association is structured to assist you with getting over a lot of these obstacles.We have moved the membership fee up to R200 per annum with pensioners enjoying a 50% deduction (business houses – R500 p.a.) and this certainly is not excessive in particular in relation to that charged by other residents associations in our area (+- R2,000 per annum) that I am personally aware of.As mentioned at last years AGM the financial position of your association is important in that we are constantly faced with very serious problems which require funding (lawyers and other professionals) if we are to make headway.The database and subsequent monthly electronic letter continues to be an excellent way of communicating with those members who are lucky (or unlucky) enough to have computers.We ask that you provide Jill with your email addresses which we will guard jealously.
Wendy has been hard at it in the communications arena both in terms of communicating with you the residents and with other areas of concern, i.e. the press.We have a website that we are all proud of but what is necessary is that you use it and make it work for all of us.It’s an attractive website and Wendy keeps it as fresh as possible but obviously contributions from you, the residents, would be welcomed.The Crier still remains after thirty years the one document that we try to get out to every resident in the two suburbs on a quarterly basis, whether they are a member or not.This takes a lot of doing but it’s necessary as there are people (if you can believe it) who don’t have computers or access to email facilities and we feel that we must continue to try and keep them in the loop.
Jess with Russ’ assistance has looked after the community affairs portfolio with one of their main functions being to organise and communicate with our street reps, with which we have over 40, etc.Unfortunately as a result of too much work pressure Jess has had to resign from the committee but she will continue to act as an Area Manager and Street Representative.Jess is looking for someone to take over from her and we also have areas where we need assistance to close any communication gap, i.e. all of Northumberland Avenue; Rothesay (between Rutland and Marlborough), Rutland between Grosvenor and Rothesay; business houses west side of Jan Smuts; Area Manager for Lancaster, Hamilton, Rutland and Rothesay.In addition in Craighall Prune Nicholson needs help on Alexander Avenue.Please let us know if you can assist.
We have been fortunate to find a qualified business person to look after the traffic portfolio which I have tried to keep a watch over.Peter Heritage unfortunately is not here tonight as he had already made plans for an overseas holiday.He’s had lots of business experience and will attack the traffic issues with common sense and gusto.It’s an important portfolio in that it links with the Johannesburg Road Departments, the Metro Police, South African Police and hopefully Peter will be able to devote more time than has been the case in the past.You might have noticed the City has been painting some of our road lines on our streets which results from a direct intervention by Peter.
The Year End situation will be given to you by Heidi Kerwin, our Treasurer, who has done a great job. The situation at the moment (end of May) is that we have an amount well in excess of last year but we have major commitments against that figure of +- R130,000 in mostly security and town planning.Heidi will give you a rundown in her report to you and additionally an update as to how we relate to the Receiver of Revenue.
I would like to thank those that have assisted the association during the year, namely Michael de la Hunt (auditor) on a pro-bono basis and as per usual, Dick Welch, our printer, who does the work for us on an extremely competitive basis.I would like to thank those that have put in hard yards for the executive committee but they feel that the time has come for them to move on.These are Daphne Hansen, Roland Wille, Jess Gallow, and of course, Judy Stockill who gave our suburbs five years of support as our Councillor.As you have already seen we have Ian Ollis here tonight who has taken over from Judy with an enthusiasm that I know will continue and he comes onto our executive in an Advisory capacity.There is also Cas Teulings who is an advisor from the South African Police and provides our executive with valuable information and direction.By the way, would we ever like to get a secretary in toe!!
Then there’s my job and although we all thought of ways and means of changing the situation I personally don’t want to leave the executive in a situation where they would lose Chair direction.We’ve decided (although this is unconstitutional – 3 years) that now that I have found replacements for security and traffic I will step back and act as a caretaker chairman with one of my prime jobs to find a replacement for me.As set out in the agenda (item 9) we will handle the election of the new executive committee on an on masse basis (which has been our habit) with a list which I will read out at the appropriate time.
Thanks for listening.
Next Peter Bruce.
CraigPark Residents Association Executive Committee
PORTFOLIO LISTING 2006/7
|John Turpin||Chairman||011 325-4547|
|Lee Whitfield||Town Planning||011 788-9086|
|Bianca De Roland-Phillips||Town Planning||011 788-3977|
|Dr Roland Meyer||Town Planning||011 442-6801|
|Roland Wille||Town Planning||011 788-1402|
|Paulette Malcolm||Environment||011 787-3680|
|Dan Sonnenberg||Environment||011 642-2344|
|Emma Morris||Environment||011 326-3097|
|Russ Smith||Community Affairs (support)||011 788-8331|
|Jill Weldon||Membership||011 788-9587|
|Wendy McAllister||Communications||011 325-7165|
|Heidi Kerwin||Treasury||011 880-2299|
|Mike Holgate||Security||011 788-5934|
|Blythe Thompson||Security||011 447-1970|
|Peter Heritage||Traffic||011 442-6824|
|Ian Ollis||Councillor||011 881-6016|
|Cas Teulings||Parkview Police||011 788-9349|