The Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID) was formed five years ago to counter the growing crime and grime threatening businesses in the Bellville and Parow CBDs.
Worried commercial property owners formed a steering committee that laid the foundations for the special ratings area (SRA), where ratepayers pay for extra cleaning services and law enforcement.
Part of the VRCID’s job is to keep the Voortrekker Road Corridor economic artery safe, clean and open for business.
Its CEO, Derek Bock, says it has breathed new life into Parow’s and Bellville’s business hubs since ratepayers started paying for the top-up services.
“If one looks at the amount of litter the VRCID collects annually, over and above that of the City, then no one can argue that the streets are not cleaner,” said Mr Bock.
“Yes, we do still have problems with litter in areas around the Bellville taxi rank, and station but this falls outside the ambit of the VRCID.
“In terms of social upliftment, we have relocated many homeless people off the streets.”
But challenges remain, and, according to Mr Bock, the top five are: dumping and littering, slum landlords, drugs, prostitution and limited law-enforcement resources.
He said the levy payers who fund the VRCID want the City and the police to deal with those problems.
The VRCID plans to place more emphasis on social upliftment in the next five years, working with partners such as Mould Empower Serve (MES), The Haven and Tygerberg Association for Street people (TASP).
“Safety and security is still a challenge for us, and we will work closely, as we currently do, with SAPS and City law enforcement,” Mr Bock said.
George Foyntos, owner of Beds and More, at Parow Business Park, pays a R95 levy each month to his landlord, who, in turn, pays it to the VRCID.
“I don’t see the VRCID patrolling a lot in and around the business park. I predominantly see them when I am driving to work along Voortrekker Road. However, my customers and I do feel safe, and, at night, the gate in front of the business is closed, which gives me peace of mind,” he said.