Prostitution in Sectional Title Schemes
by Jennifer Paddock
In the last few weeks I’ve heard of three different sectional title schemes in Cape Town struggling with prostitutes. The severity and nature of the prostitute problems vary from:
- Prostitutes regularly visiting a particular owner in the scheme, not confining their activities to the section but rather cavorting with the owner in the common property pool area and fouling the common property with used condoms;
- Pimps arriving at the scheme, issuing death threats to residents because the owner/resident has not paid the prostitutes; and
- Prostitutes living in a unit in a scheme being rented by their pimp – attracting numerous unsavoury characters to the scheme who damage and litter on the common property.
Now obviously prostitution is a crime in South Africa and your first step is to call the police if you suspect prostitution is going on in your scheme or if you feel physically threatened at any time.
But what if the police don’t help? What can you as owners or managing agents do to try and stamp out this behaviour?
Here are a list of suggestions you could try to deter unsavoury characters from coming into your scheme:
- Hire 24hour security staff.
- Establish a visitors’ register that every visitor must sign upon entrance and exit. Make sure the register has detailed fields such as: Name, ID number, vehicle registration number, address, telephone number etc.
- Install visible security cameras around the scheme preferably with a live feed to a television that the security guard is watching from his station – make sure this screen is visible to visitors upon arrival as well. If this is too expensive install fake cameras around the scheme to give the impression that residents and guests are being monitored.
- Put up signs saying things like “criminal activities will be prosecuted”.
- Get the security guard and or trustees/managing agent to keep a detailed record of complaints and reports of dodgy activities (this log will come in handy when lodging complaints with the police or issuing a fine to the owner – see 6).
- Get the body corporate to pass an enforceable fining rule (read my post on fining rules here) and follow due process to fine the owner of the unit when it can be shown that prostitution is taking place in their section.
Have you experienced problems with prostitution in your scheme or in a scheme you manage? Do you have any advice for others? Comment with your story or advice below.
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When I initially left a comment I appear to have clicked on the
-Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I recieve 4 emails
with the same comment. There has to be an easy method you are able
to remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!
The issue has two sides. One is the moral / ethics point of view and the other one is the issue how prostitutes operating in a block of flats creating unexceptable sideeffects for a safe, secure and orderly environment for all residents. Pimps, drugs , criminal activities and noise are some of them. We had two escort ladies in our scheme. Their clients after showing their ID’s to security personnel booked in like any other visitor and we did not experience any problems. But there are others. Handle them like any other unruly and illdisciplined problem residents. It means strict and if required agressive security personnel, active trustees who are not afraid to confront wrong doers and other residents who are willing to complain in written form. Prostitutes and specific their pimps [ majority are criminal foreigners ] must feel and make to understand that they are permanent monitored and reminded [ harassment within legal perimeters ]. Pimps are not happy to show their forged ID’s to security personnel and are recorded in the visitors book.Approach the local Community Police Forum. There are still a lot of good SAPS men and women out there. [ Social Crime prevention ] Following up a request by the BoT that there may be a suspect in your scheme will lead to a SAPS official knocking on the door of specific flats and checking on the ID’s of clients. Not conducive for the business of prostitutes. Pay specific attention to prostitutes trying to make business within your scheme. We have strict rules for our Recreational Area [ including pool ] and our security personnel is enforcing these rules.When you as a trustee are confronting prostitutes and their pimps make sure you are accompanied by a security guard.These are just some additional points to the very good one mentioned above. Remember : If good people don’t fight, bad people will win
Hi horst, could it be that we met 1978 in Mudzi. INTAF-PUB.
YES ! We have been in GF together. What a surprise now. Please contact me on e-mail : email@example.com. I am living in PTA. We must start communicating. HORST.
Yes we have bin in GF together. Contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
We have a pub in our complex, however 95% of the owners bought their sections with the pub already there. All the owners point fingers at the pub for people trespassing – which I think is very unfair. We have a doorman on duty 24/7 and a register. I understand that some ‘trespassers’ use the pubs name to snoop around. – who must take the blame for that? There are no evidence that it is clients of the pub. The pub owner do stay by the rules and if there is a problem it will be sorted out immediately. There is nothing illegal going on but the residents always give the blame to the pub.
Hi Klara, thanks for sharing. It must be interesting having residential sections above a commercial pub. As you say owners bought in with the pub already there and if the pub owner and his/her patrons are not doing anything illegal then there shouldn’t be any real issues.
Could the same process be followed with regards to drug dealing and smoking of “dagga”?
Hi Marina, absolutely! I think any criminal activity taking place in a scheme could potentially be tackled using some or all of the options outlined in my post above.