PwC has released a new report focusing on Cape Town, and it how it compares to other cities around the world.
Now entering its eleventh year, the report is part of PwC’s ‘Cities of Opportunity’ study, which assesses 30 cities around the world, and uses 10 data indicator groups based on 66 variables which jointly provide an image of city ‘success’.
One of the key focuses of the report is ‘health, safety and security’, with PwC noting that citizens who are healthy and feel safe will also be more economically productive – while high crime levels typically deter investment.
While Cape Town ranked mid-table for health, safety and security, its individual scores are mixed.
Crime and road safety
One of the biggest causes for concern was the city’s low road safety score, where Cape Town finished joint bottom on the ranking alongside Johannesburg.
“South Africa’s road network is by far the best in Africa, but road deaths remain stubbornly high despite awareness campaigns, education initiatives and law enforcement,” PwC said.
“The Western Cape’s figures are only slightly better than the national average, 9% of the country’s total road deaths in 2016.”
However, PwC noted that in a good example of collaborative government, the city, provincial and national governments recently teamed up to launch the ‘Safely Home’ campaign, which is based on an Australian model of random breath testing, speeding fines and awareness around the use of mobile devices and pedestrian.
Cape Town also scores poorly on crime.
Gang violence in Cape Town brings extremely high levels of crime and homicide and, although such crime is mainly confined to certain areas, the overall figures have led to Cape Town being ranked the 13th most violent city in the world – slightly improved from 2015 when it was ranked ninth.
To combat this, the City of Cape Town Metropolitan Police Department has a dedicated Gang Unit which focuses on combating drug dealing and gangsterism, but many of the resources and powers remain with the national South African Police Service (SAPS).
In 2014, the Khayelitsha Commission found that in Cape Town some of the highest crime areas in the country had the lowest SAPS police-to-population ratios.
To make matters worse, the national paramedics’ trade union recently threatened to withdraw its services in some of these areas due to the targeting of ambulances by criminals, PwC said.
Tale of two cities
The map below expands on PwC’s findings, and is based on the latest reported crime stats from the SAPS, highlighting reported murders.
While this data is cause for concern, PwC’s report also highlighted that it points to a ‘tale of two cities’.
Based on 2017’s SAPS crime statistics it found that the most serious crimes are largely confined to the sprawling informal settlements on the Cape Flats and absent from the tourist areas around the CBD and Atlantic seaboard.
“This can be attributed in part to a gang culture in the townships, but disparities in security provision are also evident,” it said.
“In 2014, the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into allegations of police inefficiency and a breakdown in relations between SAPS and the community in Khayelitsha found that some areas of Cape Town had the highest crime rates in the country, and the lowest SAPS police-to-population ratios, highlighting the importance of local and national policing collaboration.
“Such disparities are increased by the widespread use of private security firms in the areas that are able to pay for them,” it said.
However, PwC noted that the city’s new ‘EPIC’ technology solution is improving response times.
Launched in 2016, ‘EPIC’ aims to ‘draw a balance between safe cities and smart cities’ by integrates six emergency and policing services onto one common technology platform with a joint command centre. However, the system does not include SAPS, meaning that the full benefits available cannot be realised, PwC said.
“Safety interventions can have outsized returns: If people do not feel safe, they are less likely to be economically productive, or socially integrated,” it added.
“This is particularly harmful in early life – children who miss school because of safety concerns are less likely to get good grades, meaning their chances of affording safe housing in later life is diminished further.”