Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 2:44 PM

Below are working notes from the ESRC 2017 AGM and they are by no means the final signed off minutes of the AGM so are subject to change.  Unfortunately the turn out was disappointing considering the amount of work that goes into the meeting.  Thanks to the 20 residents who did attend.

Chairman’s Report (Kim Johnson) –

Infrastructure upgrades during 2016/2017 –

  • dual button system (guard has to press a button at same time as driver to lift the boom, this ensures the guard has to remain at his post and pays attention to each vehicle)
  • real time baton system – this ensures guards actively patrol at gate 1 during the night, the system is monitored at the Mamba control room and the patrol car is dispatched to the boom if a guard does not complete his patrol for any reason, the guard has to complete 40 patrols during a 12 hour shift and this ensures he does not fall asleep at his post
Infrastructure plans for 2017/2018 –
  • we are investigating a number plate recognition system, it is in a pilot phase at gate 1, the system alerts the Mamba control room if any number plates involved in a crime or detected by a watch list pass under the camera, the system will only be effective if other closures (especially the North closure) implement the system, we are currently negotiating pricing with Mamba
  • Chevron and no entry signs are badly worn and will be replaced
  • road markings at the booms and fences will be repainted
  • an upgrade for the web site is planned
  • Gate 1 guard hut is rotten and will be replaced and the electronics will be upgraded
Both schools are now contributing annually to the closure.  Thanks to Glen van Heerden for arranging this.
We receive additional income from 2 adds at the gates.
The email footer does not have a sponsor at the moment, local businesses are welcome to advertise in this spot.
Finance 
  • as usual, income and expenses are tight and both match the budget very closely
  • an increase of R25 (5.7%) in the monthly levy is proposed for 1st March 2018
  • for the 2017 financial year expenditure increased by 6.0% and revenue by 5.8%
  • a surplus of R64k was achieved mainly as a result of savings in repairs and maintenance, this is placed in reserve for any future capital expenditure or unforeseen expenses
Concerns 
  • Carmen Kelly works tirelessly to recruit new members for the closure, sometimes residents are very rude to Carmen and this behaviour is not acceptable
  • we are experiencing an increase in EFT’s not being paid on time and payments are sometimes less than what the resident committed to, with a budget that has such a small margin this makes life very difficult for the committee
  • we are also experiencing an increase in returned debit orders, this increases admin overheads and makes it difficult to manage our finances/expenses
  • we need all residents in the closure to contribute, without the closure things would be very different in our suburb, it would be riddled with crime and home values would be negatively impacted
Crime 
  • there is a misconception in the media and social media that Edenglen has a high crime rate, this may apply to the greater Edenvale area but it is not the case in our suburb
  • we experience 3-4 incidents a year which is way below the Edenvale and National average, anyone who thinks our closure is not working is badly mistaken
  • we keep our own statistics on crime (information is provided by SAPS, Mamba and residents) and these show our closure is very effective
  • Mamba responded to a question on crime in Edenvale – SAPS stats may not be the most reliable and so it is best to keep your own stats.   SAPS stations try to push reported cases to other stations so the local station’s stats do not look to bad.  The SAPS stats report on the greater (or sector) area and do not give a suburb by suburb breakdown. About 330 cases a month are reported to SAPS Edenvale with 10-15 serious crimes every month.  Edenglen South has 3-4 incidents a year!  This is an unbelievable achievement and truly shows the value of a well supported and properly operated road closure
Thanks 
  • Alex and Belinda Bass for their support in retrieving photos from the camera system
  • the closure Committee for there support and assistance
  • Carmen Kelly for her dedication and hard work in trying to recruit new members
  • Patrick and Caphus from Alvon Electronics for all their hard work on the closure infrastructure
  • Kevin Norman the Mamba Ops Manager, for always being on call and available to assist with any issue
Financial Review/Audit (Frank Turner) –
  • Frank complimented the Committee for their hard work , having 2 accountants on the committee has ensured excellent financial management
  • savings have been made on Repairs and Maintenance, this is a variable cost that is very difficult to manage
  • a net profit of R 64k was achieved against a similar net profit of R 61k in 2016
  • a review of the cash reserves was presented
  • 75% of the houses contribute to the closure, some houses contribute less than the monthly fees (some residents cannot afford the full fee but still want to support the closure) so the effective contribution rate is 68%
  • upcoming expenses include sign upgrades, spare boom motor, servicing boom motors, a new hut
  • there is a possibility the number plate recognition cameras will be introduced but this has not been budgeted for (R9k to R12k a month)
2017/2018 Budget (Dave Lones) –
  • due to the variable nature of Repairs and Maintenance we have achieved some savings but we do expect to spend more  in the current and upcoming years
  • over the years there has been a steady decline in the amount spent on R&M – 2015 – R172k, 2016 – R133k, 2017 – R113k
  • we have budgeted for an 8.4% increase in expenditure, of the R1.9m budget R1.4m goes to the car and guards
  • revenue of R 1,907k and expenditure of R 1,903 has been budgeted for leaving a nominal net excess of R 4k in 2018
  • R35k has been budgeted for capital projects, this will lead to a R31k deficit and this will be funded by our reserves from the last 2 years.  However a total of R50k is now projected to be spent in the second half as follows:
    • R20k for Gate 1 hut and electrics upgrade
    • R10k for a spare motor for the booms
    • R12k for chevron and no entry signs on the gates
    • R8k to paint the fence/gates
  • we are 6 months into our next budget cycle and so far budgeted revenue and actual revenue are identical – R960k, budgeted expenditure is R942k and actual expenditure is R934k
Proposals accepted at AGM –
  • R25 increase in levy from 1st March 2018
  • Frank Turner to remain as auditor
  • current Committee – Kim Johnson, Dave Lones, Des Kelly, Derek Gowans and James Taylor re-elected, no nominations for new committee members were received
Contribution levels –
  • since the inception of the closure there has been a gradual decrease from the 85% rate to 75% (68% effective), people in the suburb either forget or never experienced the horrendous crime rate before we closed
  • contributions were decreasing until 2013 when the Mamba contributor signs and improved communications caused an upward spike, this then settled at about 440 houses contributing
  • in the last ten years there has been a 78% turnover in home owners (56% houses sold – sometimes the same house is sold 2/3 times)
  • when owners put their house on the market some cancel their debit orders even though it can take up to 6 months to sell, then it may take several months to sign up the new owner so we could see a 9-12 month period where we receive no income from a home. The closure is a major selling point and helps retain higher home values so we urge home sellers not to be too hasty in cancelling their debit orders and for new home owners to sign up asap
  • Carmen, estate agents and Mamba all work hard to sign up new owners
  • in the first year of operation 500 homes were contributing
  • most other closures experience a 50% contribution rate
  • most complexes in our suburb pay a monthly fee to the closure
Questions 
  • What is the purpose of the dual button system?  The guard has to press a button at the same time as the driver to open the boom.  There is no monthly operations cost for this.  There is an override and sometimes this may be abused.  Kim asked residents to take ownership of their closure (it belongs to all of us not just the committee), if you are concerned about any aspect of this or any other service let the Committee and Mamba know.
  • Why does the Committee not make greater use of social media?  It is impossible to track every Facebook page, web site, blog or messaging/chat group that pops up.  We have no control over this and anyone can set something up.  The communication channels of the Committee should be well known by now, we have email for general communication, Twitter for crime alerts, our blog site for residents to discuss issues and our web site for information.  If you wish to raise an issue with the committee please use our official email.
  • Would the residents bear a larger increase that would lead to an improved experience?  Yes some residents could probably pay more and all residents could probably make a contribution of sorts. The Committee believes that we are at the limit regards increases and higher fees may cause residents to drop out and so increase the burden on paying members (who are already unfairly carrying non-contributors).  If everyone contributed the fees would be much lower.  A few years ago we did a survey asking what residents were prepared to pay and what the annual increases should be.  We have implemented our charging/increase policy based on the feedback of this survey e.g. small annual increases of 5-7 %.
Crime in the future. As a spin off to the above question Mamba gave feedback on what future crime rates look like –
  • 20 years ago 1.2 million births were registered in SA (this trend is ongoing).
  • Of these about 200k will find some form of employment or go to university.
  • 600k have received no or very little education.
  • Unemployment is at a 13 year high.  In the case above 1 million young people a year are not formally employed.
  • Many families have an embedded culture of crime.
  • Number of policemen per capita is decreasing.  The current rate is one per 297k people.  The government is putting less into policing resources and infrastructure.
  • The security industry is now bigger than the mining industry and the government makes massive amounts in tax from the security industry.
The conclusions that can be drawn from the above –
  • The government is not and has no incentive to look after the citizens of the country and properly tackle crime.  We are on our own.
  • Crime rates can only increase now and in the future.
  • We have to depend on ourselves and private providers to constantly look for new solutions and services to prevent crime.
  • Coming together as a community to tackle this issue is the only way to move forward.  With no government support it is impossible for an individual to address this problem.  Community driven initiatives such as the closure is the only practical solution.  Communities need too take group and personal responsibility for their security and constantly be looking at how to improve their level of security.
20.40 the meeting was closed.

Remember to always maintain a high level of awareness, especially when you are leaving or entering your home/driveway.  Please tell your family and domestic workers to also be on the lookout.  Report all suspicious behaviour to Mamba control room (tel number below) and warn the residents using @ESRCAlert.
Regards,
Derek
On behalf of the Edenglen South Road Closure Committee
Committee: Kim Johnson, Des Kelly, Derek Gowans, Dave Lones, James Taylor.
Emergency – Mamba (011 609 0227)
SAPS Sector 3 vehicle 071 675 6844/5
Twitter –  use @ESRCAlert to report suspicious activity or crime in progress to all residents of our suburb.
www.edenglensouthclosure.co.za – Our official web site, all past newsletters are posted here.
www.edenglensrc.blogspot.com – Community notice board. Do not post crime reports or closure operational issues here rather use our email for this.