News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Saturday February 16th 2019

Security concerns surround 2010 training venue

Yugendree Naidoo

Despite Athlone stadium being designated as a 2010 Fifa World Cup training venue, the City of Cape Town is dithering over implementing extra security measures in the form of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

This emerged when the Athlone City Improvement District (ATHCID) last month appealed to councilors of the Athlone district sub-council for the required R4 million funding to install CCTV cameras at the Athlone transport interchange and Athlone central business district (CBD).

The interchange is near gang and violence-ridden Kewtown and Bokmakierie area and recently released crime statistics show that 16 murders were committed in Athlone between April 2008 to March 2009, down from 28 in the previous year.

But assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm had increased by 15 in the 2008/2009 period to 185, up from 170 the previous year.

The ATHCID is concerned about safety of commuters using the transport interchange which is expected to have an influx of people using it to make their way to the stadium, as the training venue would be open to the public.

Although two CCTV cameras already exist at the transport interchange, funding allocated for further cameras has been reallocated on two occasions by the City.

The security upgrade would see an additional ten wireless and fiber-optic CCTV cameras installed to relay images to the surveillance centre in the suburb of Goodwood about 10 kilometres away.

Sumaya Taliep, responsible for ATHCID urban management, said although the installation of CCTV cameras had been on the cards since 1998, nothing ever materialized as the money was always moved elsewhere.

But Taliep said that 80% of the City’s public transport interchanges already have CCTV cameras.

She said the City needed to “reapply their minds” to the issue of accessing funding from the transport, safety and security or the urban renewal budgets.

“If there’s a will there’s a way,” she said.

Councilors in the sub-council expressed differing opinions on the efficacy of CCTV cameras.

ANC ward councilor Musthapha Murudker said the City was “atrocious” at spending money and wasted large amounts on consultancy work.

Murudker said he challenged the City to explain why the funding had been relocated without consultation with the subcouncil.

2010 Fifa World Cup Organising Committee (OC) chief communications officer Rich Mkhondo confirmed that Athlone Stadium would be a 2010 training venue and that it would be open for the public to view training sessions.

However, Mkhondo said the area would be safe as security guards and police would be deployed at all 2010 training venues during training sessions.

City of Cape Town Mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said although he’s very keen on helping Athlone to upgrade security, he needed to make informed decisions based on “facts and science”.

Smith said the installation of CCTV cameras was based on crime patterns, vehicle and pedestrian volumes, and existing infrastructure.

But he said CCTV cameras were not a “magic wand” when it came to eradicating crime. — West Cape News

Tags: 2010, cctv

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