UP and Hatfield CID: Improving Hatfield one day at a time

Posted on May 17, 2021

The Hatfield City Improvement District (CID) – of which the University of Pretoria (UP) is one of the key tenants – played a significant role in keeping the suburb clean and safe during 2020.

More than 78 000 bags of refuse were removed, 63 graffiti marks cleared, over 100 potholes repaired and more than 1 000 flower beds created. “Creating this pleasing environment is part of the mandate of the Hatfield CID, a legally constituted entity and non-profit company,” says Danie Basson, Chief Operations Officer of the Hatfield CID. The CID works to enhance the physical and social environment of Hatfield over and above the services provided by the municipality.

As the largest property owner in Hatfield, the University plays the role of an anchor institution in the CID. “This has led to the establishment of the Hatfield Campus Village, which is an initiative to lead urban renewal and social transformation projects around the University’s Hatfield Campus,” Basson says. In terms of this initiative, the University works closely with the Hatfield CID to research, analyse and assess the situation to bring about continuous improvements.

“A Spatial and Institutional Development and Management Framework forms part of the Hatfield Campus Village. This has recently attracted overseas funding from the Kresge Foundation in the USA for the development of a Hatfield Campus Village Urban Design Framework, which will determine the look and feel of the suburb over the next few decades.”

Basson adds that UP contributes almost 50% of the CID’s total levies. “Since UP has no mandate outside of its boundaries, the CID fulfils a crucial role in the urban management of the area surrounding Hatfield campus. Apart from regular levy contributions, UP also funds other projects and assets for the CID, such as paving projects around the campus, and donating vehicles to the CID and Tshwane Metro Police.”

Sandile Mthiyane, Chief Operating Officer of UP, says the working relationship that the University enjoys with the CID also benefits UP staff and students. “UP views its role as an anchor institution in the Hatfield CID precinct as an opportunity to contribute to a vibrant and sustainable community,” says Mthiyane, who also serves as Chairman of the Hatfield CID board. “Students and staff not only benefit from improved environmental quality in Hatfield, but actively contribute to it through engagement with the Hatfield community, which they form part of. Engagement happens at different levels and is often facilitated by the CID through its network of stakeholders.”

According to Basson, property owners benefit from being part of a CID because their environment is transformed into a welcoming and safe public space, which is attractive to prospective residents or those looking to the city as a home for their businesses.

Ensuring the safety of the Hatfield community is a necessary part of the CID’s mandate, and other members that form part of its network include the Tshwane Metro Police Department, which has a satellite station in Hatfield; SAPS Brooklyn; and Hatfield CID Security, the private company contracted by the CID and UP Security Services. “Incentives are regularly handed out to informers, security officers or even members of the public who provide information or sometimes assist with arrests,” explains Basson.

Before taking the reins as Chief Operations Officer, Basson was a SAPS officer and has 17 years of experience under his belt. “The experience gained has resulted in an ability to read people and to always expect the unexpected,” he says. “The ability to communicate with people from all walks of life, and the passion I have for helping them and making Hatfield a better place for all is certainly an advantage. I see myself as the glue that binds the various security-related initiatives into a united front against crime.”

For students coming to Hatfield for the first time, Basson has a few practical pointers. “First-years are urged to pay attention to the security briefings, as many crimes can be prevented. Do not be gullible – criminals see Hatfield as a rich hunting ground because most people, especially students, carry commodities like smartphones, laptops, etc. Avoid using your cellphone in public. Beware of scam artists who promise things that sound too good to be true or who threaten you with bad spirits or spells. Do not leave your valuables with someone you do not know well. We have many resources in place to respond to a situation, so if you witness something, make it known, even if you just call for help. The quicker the call, the quicker the reaction!”

If you need assistance in Hatfield, here are some important numbers:

Please use the CID toll-free number: 0800 061 012

Cellphone: 073 540 1866

Hatfield Metro Police: 012 358 5585

Also refer to the back of your student card, which contains important numbers.

Published by Hlengiwe Mnguni

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