MTN sets up crime surveillance centre in Soweto

  • MTN has opened a centre in Soweto with equipment to gather data on criminals and assist local community crime prevention.
  • This is in order to increase the security around its infrastructure in the region.
  • The first phase of the plan sees MTN provide notebooks and other tech to community watch members in the area.

In a bid to protect its infrastructure and the communities that surround it from thieves, MTN today says it has set up a “security command centre” in Soweto, Johannesburg. This is part of a first phase in a wider plan to provide technology to local communities for improved security and is in cooperation with the Gauteng Provincial Community Police Board.

MTN says the centre in Soweto has been kitted out with notebooks and “other equipment to gather data.”

According to an announcement, the Big Yellow telecom claims “Technology such as CCTV and WIFI points will be harnessed to detect criminal activity and alert responders.”

“The aim is to protect network tower infrastructures and minimise network downtime and its impact on the connectivity experience of subscribers.”

The company is also set to provide new uniforms and equipment like panic buttons and handcuffs to members of the community watch and Community Policing Forums.

“Persistent loadshedding in recent months has resulted in a significant increase in theft of network assets and vandalism of our tower infrastructure. These criminal activities come at a high cost to the company and they also prevent communities from accessing the network and staying in touch and connected – to work, the emergency services and to each other,” says MTN SA CEO Charles Molapisi.

“The effect is devastating on lives and livelihoods, and this is why we are ramping up prevention measures in the communities we serve.”

MTN says it is planning to introduce even more technology to the community in the second phase of the project, which will begin at a point in time it has yet to reveal.

“Our aim is, in time, to empower CPFs across SA to protect network sites in their respective communities. Nothing is more important in SA today than the fight against the crime that is impacting our country,” adds Molapisi.

MTN’s first phase of the project comes a year and the month that Gauteng Premier Panyaza Lesufi declared his intention to launch more technological means to help the South African Police Service (SAPS) fight crime in Johannesburg.

This included the promise of provisioning solutions like e-panic buttons, surveillance cameras with facial detection technology and police cars loaded with “gadgets.” Lesufi also promised the creation of a surveillance centre to cover the city and the introduction of more CCTV cameras installed in high-risk areas of the city.

Since then the premier has also introduced the so-called “amaPanyaza” community crime prevention wardens, uniformed community watch members, that have since had middling success in policing their communities and generated significant controversy for the premier and local government.

“Communities must own the technology infrastructure and defend it by using intelligence and the crime prevention measures of the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies,” explained TJ Masilela, Gauteng Provincial Community Police Board Executive Chairperson.

[Original photo by Lianhao Qu on Unsplash]


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