South Africa - Pretoria - 25 September 2019 - A MTN tower in Olievenhoutbosch that was recently vandalized. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)
South Africa - Pretoria - 25 September 2019 - A MTN tower in Olievenhoutbosch that was recently vandalized. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency(ANA)

MTN's cell tower battery syndicate brought to book

By Dineo Faku Time of article published Mar 4, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG -  MTN South Africa  said today that seven people had been brought to book after targeting their towers to steal batteries.

The telecommunications company said following police raids last week,  55 batteries were recovered, and four vehicles with tools were confiscated in a series of operations across the country in the past few days.

MTN SA said that police arrested a suspect at the Beit Bridge point of entry in possession of 32 batteries, and three other people were arrested in Greytown in Kwa-Zulu Natal.

MTN SA  said it had spent over R300 million to replace stolen batteries and rebuilding vandalized infrastructure in 2018 and is scheduled to release 2019 figures once its report into theft has been completed.

Ernest Paul, general manager for network operations at MTN SA , said that the group was encouraged with the breakthrough it was making in the fight against vandalism and the theft of telecommunications infrastructure.

"MTN will continue to collaborate with other telco companies to completely clamp down on the scourge of battery theft, which is costing mobile network operators millions of rands and depriving consumers access to communication services," said Paul.

FILE PHOTO: A worker walks past an outlet of South Africa's MTN Group in Johannesburg, South Africa
Paul said in a statement last year that some acts of vandalism are “so severe that hundreds of towers around the country are at risk of being permanently shut down, putting a strain on the network and potentially diminishing the quality of the service provided to customers”.

Last month, MTN said its efforts in increasing security measures to prevent battery theft and vandalism at cell tower base stations was paying off, despite theft incidents on the rise. It had introduced high tech solutions and on the ground strategies. 

BUSINESS REPORT 

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