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A dynamic group of proactive citizens in Potchefstroom are taking back their streets, their parks and the future of their pristine university town – and this is done in collaboration with the JB Marks City Council.In what can be described as a unique pilot program for suburbs across South Africa, these platteland citizens have declared war against littering, loitering, and crime in their neighbourhood.  And they’ve got the full support of the local government.

Enthusiastic shop-owners, students, professors, homeowners, the police services and city administrators have banded together to root out all the undesirable elements to create a 2 square kilometre safe zone around the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University.  As new members sign up and it is likely to expand not only within the JBM Local Municipality but also to other municipalities, as well as the other two campuses of the NWU.

Driven by the need to create a safe environment for students, also off campus, the JB Marks Municipality and the North-West University were the founding members of the Cachet Park City Improvement District (CID) in 2018.  It is a non-for-profit company, established in terms of special legislation allowing for top-up services pertaining to security, refuse management and recycling, beautification and placemaking, and other public service functions in a demarcated area. The Cachet Park CID functions as operational and implementation arm of JBM City Council.

The first step in 2019 has been the signing up of members and putting up a vast network of surveillance cameras.  Cameras are proven to be the biggest success factor in the University’s on-campus’ zero incidents statistics.  Being able to follow and identify a perpetrator on screen, also at night, for kilometres on end, is a sure bet to discourage crime and a relatively easy way to apprehend the criminals who still dare try.  The Faculty of Engineering is also contemplating how they could add unique and competitive features to the system.

Headed as CEO by Emeritus Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Prof Fika J van Rensburg, and supported by Brig (rtd) Kiewiet van Zyl as COO, and Ms. Nadri Zitzke as Senior Accountant, this CID initiative has established itself during the first 5 months of 2019, and serves as an example of communities combining their efforts to restore law and order in their neighbourhoods. This could be a home-grown solution which can serve as model for roll out across South Africa.

Funding is an interesting challenge.  Apart from a non-interest loan by the CID’s anchor member, the NWU, the voluntary membership fees  of property and business owners in the demarcated area are making the books balance.  Additional sponsorships and donations will also actively be sought.

If you or your company would like to support this initiative, we’d like to hear from you.  Please contact us and become a part of this success story.