Call for CCTV not SRA Propaganda

CCTV CameraCrime truly is overtaking us. On Wednesday tree break-ins were reported on crime watch and last night another three – Mary Crescent, Aldabara Run and another in the Tenant Centre.  The SFT post on the urgency of installing CCTV yesterday drew a rather uncalled for comment that it was propaganda for those supporting the SRA. Possibly those who have suffered loss through crime will think differently.

Something has to be done to curb the rising crime. We know SAPS is hard stretched, undermanned and under equipped to make much of a difference. Calibre, G4s and SMHart are doing what they can as are Neighbourhood Watch but it seems we are losing the battle so need to change the status quo to ensure we win the war. If the money for CCTV doesn’t come from the SRA where is it going to come from. To date no one other the St Francis Property Owners association have come up with a workable solution yet those throwing stones in an attempt to shoot them down have not made a single suggestion to save St Francis.

What is quite interesting is that some comments seem to be totally uneducated and obviously made without having attended one of the three public meetings nor actually studied the proposal as published on the SFPO Website.

We live in a democracy and your vote will count so the best thing to do is exercise your right to vote. There is an online voting form to make it easy to vote so whatever your decision, YES or NO get your vote in today.

Maybe time to take CCTV Security seriously

Around the time we were putting together this publication an armed robbery was taking place in St Francis Bay further demonstrating how out of control crime in St Francis has become. Living in the city one expects to hear reports of armed hold ups on petrol stations and 24-hr convenience stores and the like but in St Francis Bay? One of the reasons many choose to settle in St Francis is to get away from the crime in the big cities but that seems to changing.

Early yesterday morning three armed robbers held up the owner of the convenience store / second hand shop next door to the Caltex petrol station at gun point and escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Considering there is only one way in and one way out of St Francis monitoring the comings and goings of traffic would certainly be far more effectively monitored than in a town with multiple entry / exit points. For this reason and considering the rapid increase in crime it has become imperative and indeed urgent that at least vehicle tracking CCTV cameras be considered, if only at the main entry / exit point at the circle. Cape St Francis Civics installed such a camera shortly before Christmas as far as SFT is aware there have been no major robberies since.

Certainly such a camera would not be the total solution but with a network of cameras as proposed in the St Francis Property Owners 2018 SRA presentation, there would certainly be some control and deterrent factor. Whether this ever becomes a reality of course is now in the hands of the property owners who need to cast their vote either in favour of or against the proposed SRA.

Sadly some owners have been extremely critical of the SFPO proposal and seemed almost obsessed with the fact that their money is to be spent on the beach and spit rejuvenation. As a town that relies primarily on tourist this priority makes sense but it is not the only matter being addressed? Possibly a way those against having their money spent on the beach / spit should look at it as their hard earned money being spent on improving their personal security (CCTV) and motoring costs with better roads  whilst those on the canals and beachfront pay for the spit and beach.

Of course everything could be left as is and as the sea encroaches on St Francis Drive and more and more home owners would abandon their properties, fewer tourist would visit, businesses would close down and ……

Crime would spiral even more than it is now.

But back to security and policing. Of course it is SAPS job to keep the community safe but they are not doing it. All we as a community can therefore do is appeal to SAPS’ higher authority which SFT understands some very concerned business people are in the process of doing and all play our part whether it be by supporting the Neighbour Watch in person or kind and by being alert to any suspicious behaviour be it in a car parking area or out on a street.

Although SAPS recently turned a victim of crime away when they went to report a burglary, alerting them to potential crime may receive a more positive response

A petition will be launched tomorrow.


Storm after the Quiet

Storm after the Quiet as the thieves make hay

After a somewhat quiet holiday period it seems as the baddies are hard at work again making life miserable for those unlucky enough to become their victims. Most alarming though is that those responsible for the crime are either not being brought to book or worse still, brought to book but then released on bail so that they can continue to spread their evil. Even in a sophisticated community fully conversant with the law reach a point where enough is enough so one cannot blame our poorer neighbours in China Town for taking matters into their own hands recently.

Nobody can condone vigilantism but it is hard to blame a community when they don’t have policing support and this is about to get even worse. It is no secret that St Francis SAPS (Police Service) is undermanned and under equipped. For them to have their finger on the pulse when they don’t even have the vehicles to patrol their precinct is simply unacceptable and the tax payer, and the impoverished, deserve better.

But worse is to come! An already undermanned station has just lost probably the most qualified member of staff with the transfer of Captain du Toit away from St Francis. In the four years that he was in St Francis he not only acted as station commander until the appointment of Capt. Gomoshe but also heading up the detective branch that in recent times has had significant success in capturing and charging perpetrators.

SAPS really have no right to jeopardise our community by taking such a valuable resource fromus and we need to let the powers that be that we are not happy with their action. Both the Provincial command, if not national command need to be approached to return Capt du Toit to his local post and if not that, then upgrade the station with full manpower and resources that was planned and promised some years ago.

It is time for a petition and St Francis will be approaching those involved with community policing forums to start such which we will be only too happy to support by publishing on these pages. Watch this space for more on subject in coming editions

A return to normality

It is truly amazing how quickly the town returns to normal at the end of the summer holidays. From roads jam packed with traffic, having to queue for parking, standing 20th in the checkout line at the supermarket, suddenly no traffic, a choice of parking bays and supermarket tellers almost vying for you to use their till. Certainly we welcome, and need, the holidaymakers but it is nice to have our town back. A comment though from reader Trevor Tennant commenting on the SFT post “Season Almost Over” does however sum it up “It would be nice to have a little less a little more often”.

The information booklet that St Francis Tourism published this past holiday was certainly a successful initiative by an agency that does its best with a very limited budget. Without budget there is little more the agency can do but thanks to their efforts and those of Cape St Francis Resort, The Links and to a lesser degree The Chokka Trail, St Francis is able to attract tourist out of season. More needs to be done to attract year round tourism and it shouldn’t be left to these three and St Francis Tourism alone.

Hats off to St Francis Tourism for the splendid job they did over the season and in particular the Morning Market. Vendors at these markets certainly cannot have any complaints other than there were too many potential customers. Market day in St Francis is always an enjoyable outing to meet friends  and renew acquaintances. Thank goodness the area now defined as the “Village Common” was available for paring both the market on market days  and for those shopping at the Spar centre.

And on the subject of the Common, the vegetation has been cleared to a large extent and so here is hoping the community will pu;; together with ideas (and donations) to develop the area into some where we can all enjoy be it for bigger morning markets, art in the park exhibitions or music in the park on a Sunnday afternoon.

One last comment on The Ruins & Billy’s.

No doubt lessons have been learned by all involved and lfe can go on. Certainly thought should be put into Angela Cadman’s suggestion (READ –“A music solution for St Francis Bay holiday season”) for there is no doubt these music festivals do attract visitors to our shores over tehe season.

Finally thank you to Benno Dippenaar who has become involved in ensuring the aftermath of The Ruins as mentioned inn our post “Is someone going to clean up after the Ruins – stop plastic pollution” is being finally being dealt with. Apparently the Port Elizabeth company tasked with the clean-up didn’t do the job properly hence all the hazard tape and other plastic pollution being left to blo in the wind.

Clean up after the Ruins

Is someone going to clean up after the Ruins –  stop plastic pollution

One certainly hopes that someone cleans up after the Ruins. There is hazard tape, plastic packets and cladding still hanging from fences and in the windy weather it won’t take much to dislodge it. If a westerly blows it could end up adding to the already dire ocean pollution.

Shortly after driving past the eyesore that the Ruins have left behind than I came across something to really give one hope that there are people who care. At the stop sign just before Lyme Road South joins the R330 a gentleman in a grey hatchback, obviously on his way out if St Francis, stopped at the stop street, got out of his car, walked to where a discarded 2-litre plastic bottle was lying, picked it up, put it in his car, then drove off. I gave him the thumbs up so if that gent reads this post, thank you for caring. If we all made that extra little effort we could maybe beat this plastic scourge. If that gent reads this, thank you!

This small act was even more appropriate considering British PM Theresa May’s announcement, and indeed her speech yesterday morning where she has committed her government to taking action against use of plastic. Possibly it is time we South Africans could start an anti-plastic revolution.

Stop buying in plasticAs a start we could stop buying product in plastic containers that is readily available in glass. An example, Black Cat Peanut Butter is sold in glass jars. Both Spar and Yum Yum peanut butter come in plastic so support Black Cat until Spar and YUM YUM go back to using glass. All Gold Tomato Sauce comes in glass and plastic, only by the glass product. There are so many. Mrs Ball’s Chutney was sold in bottles until recently now it is supplied in plastic bottles.

If enough people boycott plastic packaged products it won’t take long for manufacturers to revert to glass. Of course not all plastic packaging can be boycotted but by making a start we can make a difference. The ocean plastic pollution Is real and we cannot afford not to do nothing.

Maybe readers who are concerned with plastic pollution can leave comment on other products that come in glass  as well as any other ideas on reducing our use of and reliance on plastic.

Plastic Pollution