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Big brother will soon have more eyes to monitor safety and the flow of traffic across the capital, with additional CCTV cameras and beefed-up surveillance.
The City of Tshwane will also deploy at least four metro police officers in each ward when the current 2 200 trainees complete their training. This figure will grow to 10 in the long run.
CCTV has been adopted by the municipality as one of the strategic instruments in the fight against crime and to improve the free flow of traffic.
Blessing Manale, spokesman for the City of Tshwane, said it had emerged from ward meetings that residents wanted wider CCTV coverage and surveillance.
The new cameras will add to the 168 currently located mostly in and around the city centre.
The expansion will be done in phases, with the first two phases running back to back in the current financial year.
During phase one, the metro plans to install a total of 81 cameras in areas such as Marabastad, Arcadia, Sunnyside, Hatfield, Water-kloof, Brooklyn and Menlyn.
The second phase will see 151 additional CCTV cameras rolled out mainly in the eastern suburbs of the city, also including Lyttelton.
Priority placement was determined in terms of hot spots related to accidents and crime, population densities, businesses and other attractions and main arterials as determined by the city.
Currently several suburbs in the east have closed-circuit monitoring and cameras as private services rendered by neighbourhood watch companies. “Implementation will depend on readiness of such areas, which may include existing infrastructure to mount and secure the cameras,” Manale said.
“Other factors include the availability of connectivity for feeding into the main recording and archives, and linking with other existing observation centres such as the police and private installations by communities.”
The roll-out of CCTV has already improved overall neighbourhood watch projects, metro police response time, identification of suspects and the development of suspect identikits from video footage, according to the municipality.
“Problems such as house-breakings, street hijackings and muggings, and some traffic offences have been addressed since the installation of the cameras.”
The strictest process of procurement had been followed to facilitate the roll-out.
It included completing project roll-out plans, technical scope specifications for the installation, maintenance and security, data storage and linkage platforms.
There are plans for further roll-out phases in the next financial years to cover all the other Tshwane regions, but still focusing on prioritised areas.
Karen Meyer, community safety spokesman for the DA in the city council, said the official opposition was hoping the rollout would be done before the end of the financial year, as promised by mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa.
Meyer called on the municipality to meet all the relevant security role players in the affected areas to look at a possible solution to ensure proper use of the CCTV cameras through better communication.
“If this is not addressed effectively and efficiently then the new cameras will not be used to their full potential and therefore not to the ultimate benefit of residents,” Meyer said.
Fanie du Plessis of the Capital City Business Chamber said to do business, people looked for a conducive environment, with safety being among the most important elements.
“People need to feel safe. Those operating businesses in the city must know they are in a safe business environment,” he said.
“This project will go a long way towards improving safety. The business chamber welcomes all initiatives that will improve the safety aspect of business operators and their clients.”