Pretoria - The City of Tshwane’s closed-circuit television system is again clouded in controversy.
This time, the city says the cameras have been switched off because the contract with service provider Morubisi Technologies has lapsed and been extended.
The contract expired last month and city spokesman Blessing Manale says the company is on a “day-to-day contract”.
“We opened bidding for the contract in November, but when the contract ended in April, we did not have a new service provider. We extended the contract with Morubisi for another month. Right now, they are our technical partner and 27 new metro police recruits man the computers. This has placed the city at high risk.”
Manale said that on Monday and Tuesday cameras across the city had been switched off. “On Monday the metro police could not even work at the centre because they did not have chairs. They had to be posted elsewhere.”
But Tshwane Metro Police Department spokesman, Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba, said all cameras across the city were operational. “There was a technical problem on Monday and it was fixed within an hour. The cameras are still helping us a lot with crime prevention across the city.”
Mahamba said that in the first five months of the year, the cameras had helped in 2 000 criminal cases, leading to at least 30 arrests. For example, on May 9, one man was arrested and another fled after they were caught stealing computers at a school.
The 168 CCTV cameras across the city are operational 24 hours a day. They cover four main areas - Marabastad, the CBD, Hatfield and Sunnyside.
Morubisi has been overseeing the city’s street surveillance since 2004, along with the City of Tshwane, the SAPS, Tshwane Metro Police Department and city improvement district.
Yesterday, Mahamba took the Pretoria News to the CCTV control room on Thabo Sehume Street.
The cameras were on and manned by Morubisi operators. There was also a station for metro police and SAPS officers.
On being told that the cameras were working, Manale said the issue had been been sorted out temporarily as there was no contract in place.
Morubisi’s chief executive, Fana Morake, confirmed Monday’s technical problem, but said it had been solved.
Manale said a new contractor would be appointed by July