As 2021 draws to a close…
OBSID celebrating successes and tackling new challenges
Precinct management is not for the faint-hearted, and the OBSID team has once again proved its worth. Besides shortly closing another successful, albeit complicated calendar year, we will soon complete our current five-year term and enter into a new era with the wider Obs community.
Whilst introducing an increased range of services and initiating several new projects, we have maintained a lean functional core, with our operational expenses remaining relatively flat.
Our largest programme continues to be public safety, with OBSID engaged daily in proactive measures to prevent crime and respond to support residents when they need it.
Our social development programme has grown substantially with a focus on sustainable partnerships and impactful pathways of support through workplace development, a full-time qualified social worker joining our team, and piloting the Obz Rainbow House, being just some of the recent highlights.
Our cleaning teams are on the streets daily, but we still need residents to work with us to prevent dumping and overflowing bins to keep Obs looking clean. Recently, the Obs team have been investigating recycling options for the area.
Each period of Obs’ history has made it what it is today – Obs has faced challenges in the past – and each crisis has spurred the committed residents, NGOs and business people that call Obs home to come together and adapt and create new ways of working together in neighbourly and active ways.
The current time is no different and OBSID is also adapting its role in the neighbourhood. We’ve done everything we can to ensure that good service levels are maintained while managing resources efficiently, and developing an aspirational pipeline of projects that will hopefully bring the people of Observatory together in new ways.
The OBSID Annual General Meeting was successfully held online and in person on 28 October, 2021. At the AGM, members expressed support for the work that OBSID does, and voted in favour of the extension of OBSID’s term for a further five years, commencing in July 2022. Members had the opportunity to engage with a detailed business plan and budget prior to the AGM and gave their unanimous support for the extension.
In the next five years, our business plan includes familiar basic OBSID services (urban management, public safety, social development), plus a phased introduction of expanded services in core programmes of public safety, cleaning, social development, operationalisation of what have been pilot projects so that they can be relied on going forward, the possible introduction of minor infrastructure maintenance services (funding dependent) at the behest of the City as well as aspirational special projects.
We look forward to continuing to work with the community of Observatory.
OBSID Board changes:
The OBSID bid farewell to Jodi Allemeier, who served as Board Chair for two terms and Tom Figl, who served as a Board member since 2018 at the 2021 AGM.
At a Board meeting held in November 2021, Claire Everatt was elected as incoming Board Chair, with Kari Cousins elected as incoming Board Vice Chair.
On average, we continue to assist 25 people per month, in addition to the 8-10 clients who are enrolled on our work-based rehabilitation programme and accessed daily services and support. Clients accessed the OBSID social development programme for assistance with obtaining identity documents, accessing medical, rehabilitative and harm reduction services, reaching out to family or just to talk to someone they trust.
The OBSID continued to operate the supportive housing pilot project, the Obz Rainbow House, until October 2021, when our efforts to find a development partner paid off and The Rehoming Collective took on the lease and the premises. We encourage you to get familiar with the work of The Rehoming Collective in Observatory, as with your support, they may prove to be a game changer in the social development space in Observatory through the provision of supportive housing for street based people wanting to get into managed accommodation and programmes.
Through individual support to attend vaccination centres as well as the facilitation of a vaccination day in Observatory during October 2021, we assisted over 30 street based people to obtain their Covid-19 vaccination.
For the period June 2021 to November 2021 we recorded 196 incidents. Thefts were the main contributor to the reported incidents in the OBSID precinct with 69 incidents. Other reported incidents were: burglaries (40), robberies (38), malicious damage to property (27), assault (5), shoplifting (7), trespass (8), fraud (1) and vehicle hijacking (1).
The OBSID public safety team conducted 1 431 proactive actions, alerting people to safety risks such as open doors, visible valuables and unlocked motor vehicles.
We’re hopeful that the reconstituted Observatory Neighbourhood Watch helps with safety related reporting and crime prevention actions in the future. We will provide them with all the support and guidance that we can as they find their feet.
The OBSID continues to build relationships with SAPS and law enforcement agencies and assisted SAPS with 45 arrests in the past 6 months.
As the OBSID public safety officers have no enforcement powers, we have to rely on law enforcement agencies for assistance. OBSID raised 467 instances of by-law infringements with the City of Cape Town since the beginning of July 2021.
For the period June 2021 to November 2021, 20 458 bags were collected in the OBSID precinct.
The urban management team had to attend to 136 illegal dumping sites with a further 26 illegal dump sites were reported to the City for their attention.
It’s obvious that households and businesses don’t have enough refuse bins – as can be seen by the amount of dumping of waste in public bins along our streets. This creates ongoing difficulties for the OBSID urban management team as dumping occurs throughout the day, is targeted by bin pickers as it occurs, and ends up being spread throughout the precinct during the day.
We recorded 369 infrastructure faults during this period via the City’s fault reporting system. We enjoy good relationships with some City departments and are actively building relationships with others.
OBSID and the community:
Besides our regular engagement with the Observatory Civic Association at their Management Committee meetings, over the past 6 months OBSID has supported a wide range of community led activations.
We participated in a Community Safety Meeting in September 2021, gave our support to the team driving the re-establishment of the Observatory Neighbourhood Watch by attending their meetings and AGM and participated in a series of community dialogues and action groups around social issues.
We supported the team who organised Mini Streetopia 2021, which even without street closures, was a great success in bringing the community to Lower Main Road for the day.
The OBSID team and community partners have taken on several aspirational placemaking projects, including a community greening project, a heritage project and a process looking at the Village Green. All the projects are most valuable in providing insights into what the community, want and need from Obs and how this can inform our strategy and plans for the next five years.