GEORGE NEWS AND VIDEO - Many businesses in the CBD are convinced that bad elements among the informal car guards in George are doing their businesses great harm.
Incidents of intimidation and harassment of clients are becoming more frequent and business owners and managers are desperate to rid their pavements, parking bays and doorways of intoxicated, aggressive individuals who fund their addictions with money from motorists who pay them either out of misplaced pity or real fear.
In order to gauge public opinion regarding the car guard situation, George Herald, with the support of We Are George and the George Business Chamber, is hosting a survey via SurveyMonkey, an online survey service company.
The survey will take less than five minutes of your time and we appeal to all citizens of George to participate. Click here to complete the survey.
The results of the survey will be shared with our readers, the George Municipality and Alan Winde, the Western Cape Provincial Minister of Community Safety, who has already received and acted upon a letter in this regard. Winde is also the DA's candidate for premier in the province.
George Herald journalist Salette Cloete recently wrote an article about the homeless who soil the entrances to businesses in York and Langenhoven streets at night and operate as car guards during the day.
Many business owners spoke to her about their frustration and the inaction of the authorities to act against the perpetrators.
Meanwhile, just one street block to the north, from the George Mediclinic to the George Museum, there has been a marked improvement in the security situation since the appointment of private security guards at the end of last year.
Barry Botha of Street Eyes, who has placed guards at the George Mediclinic and the Oakhurst-owned buildings just north of the hospital, says the informal car guard industry needs to be formalised. "At the moment criminals and drug users have free reign on the street making money to feed their illegal activities.
"Business and local government should take hands to rid our streets of this scourge. If we unite trustworthy car guards under one umbrella with proper control, honest people can make a decent living and the businesses in the CBD will benefit greatly if their clients feel safe. The good and trustworthy car guards are also being intimidated by the bad ones who claim 'ownership' of certain streets."
Botha says in our neighbouring towns systems have been put in place to reclaim the streets and that the formalisation of car guards is the only route to go.
Laying complaints NB
We Are George, an initiative created by local businesses and residents of George who aim to uplift and improve safety in George, met with George protection services about two weeks ago and everyone agreed that the only way that law enforcement or the police can act on illegal car guards is if community members lay formal complaints.
Mikaila Hendrikz of We Are George says should residents encounter unruly, illegal car guards in public parking, they MUST take the time to lay a complaint.
"We can no longer afford to look the other way. The word is spreading that George tolerates this type of behaviour and more and more addicts and criminals are coming to George to support their bad habits. Please, for the sake of your loved ones, please report these incidents and also participate in the survey."
Watch a video below.
Complaints about car guards in PUBLIC parking should be laid at:
Police (to report criminal activity of car guards)
- Phone: 044 803 4733
- E-mail: Georgefirstname.lastname@example.org
Protection Services (to report unruly / harassing / drunk car guards)
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