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Sweet 16 for district

It’s been 16 sweet years since the Green Point Improvement District started serving the suburb. And while its drive to make Green Point safer stays the same, the years have brought numerous changes.

“We were pioneers of the CID model – it was something new and untested,” recalls CEO Marc Truss.

“During the first few days, and even weeks and months, we had to try to put a service into motion that no-one had taught us how to do. This new service comprised street sweeping and visible policing in the form of branded security officials. Then just like magic there was a sudden leap forward and a clear visible difference could be seen. “We were travelling into uncharted waters which was no easy feat, but here we are – oceans ahead of where we were.”

The improvement district has seen its relationship with local businesses evolve into friendships and partnerships, says Truss. “We have become more effective because of this, and we’re learning more and more how to work with and integrate modern technology into all these areas. We have never been a fixed organism and we’ll continue to keep up with the times, so we maintain relevance. We’ve spent the last 16 years creating better services across the board,” he adds.

“We incorporated an added value component so businesses were getting complete value for their money. We started to fulfil different roles like working with key role players to tackle incidents like broken lamp posts, fixing potholes, clearing refuse and monitoring movements of the homeless.”

The improvement district now also fulfils a social development role, with partnerships with NGOs like Straatwerk to improve the lives of street people.

Looking back, one of the highlights for Truss is the establishment of St Andrews Square Prestwich. This is closely followed by the growth of the team – which has more than doubled in size.

“Marius Swanepoel, security manager, has been with us for 14 years. Dolph Venter, contract manager of Securus Protection Services, has been with us for 11 years,” he says. Venter adds: “When I started here there were only about four people on the team. We’ve more than doubled since then to include a staff complement of 11 dedicated staff. It shows growth – internally and in terms of the impact we can have in the Green Point area.”

Truss forecasts that the next 16 years will hold “growth, expansion and extension”. “We want to create more job opportunities for the unemployed. Internally we want to increase the training of staff so we can offer better services. We want to not only make a positive impact, but tell people about the impact we’ve made. We want to expand and assist other CIDs that set up and get started – so they don’t have to struggle like we did; we can guide them.

Originally published on People’s Post here.


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