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City of Cape Town rolls out CCTV cams to five more areas but ‘crooks 3 steps ahead’

The R50 million provision for the CCTV expansion is contained in the draft budget for the new financial year. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

The R50 million provision for the CCTV expansion is contained in the draft budget for the new financial year. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Published May 9, 2022

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Cape Town - The five policing precincts of Delft, Kraaifontein, Nyanga, Mfuleni and Mitchells Plain have been prioritised in the latest CCTV camera roll-out plan by the City.

The City said the areas were identified for more monitoring based on crime and incident statistics.

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The roll-out plan, which was endorsed by the Safety and Security Portfolio Committee, was awaiting a directive from the mayor and the mayoral committee for approval and implementation.

The City said that the exact locations of the cameras would be determined in consultation with area stakeholders and police station commanders, taking into consideration, among others, the suitability and stability of fibre-optic infrastructure, reliability of power sources, CCTV infrastructure, and the possibility of vandalism.

The R50 million provision for the CCTV expansion is contained in the draft budget for the new financial year.

Nyanga Cluster CPF chairperson Martin Makhasi said while the City was planning to expand the CCTV cameras in the precinct, he said the existing ones were not as effective as expected.

“If these were working in all the shootings that are ongoing in Nyanga and all the taxi violence-related murders the data could have been shared with the police, resulting in arrests.

“We conclude that these cameras are there but not used optimally. Our former ward councillor recently installed three cameras in locations where there is a reliable power supply but they are standing like ornaments with acts of violence occurring under their watch daily,” Makhasi said.

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Makhasi challenged the City to provide evidence of how effective the existing cameras in the precinct have been in reducing crime and ensuring the capture and arrest of perpetrators.

“It’s one thing to provide a camera but we also need to know what is the process moving forward; are there people that are going to man these cameras? Is the data accessible to the law enforcement agencies?” he said.

Delft CPF PRO Charles George said while CCTV was one of the optimal tools to fight crime, he said this was “old” technology.

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“Whatever the law enforcement agencies propose, they’re always three steps behind and not ahead of the criminal curve. Nowadays you have very smart criminals that would still commit the crime but not in the range of a CCTV camera.

“While you could most probably gather data via CCTV cameras, you also want to have an eye in the sky that would ensure that the perpetrators know that they are being followed,” he said.

George said a 24/7 surveillance in the sky via drone technology was needed in areas such as Delft. He said through this, live data was able to shared with law enforcement agencies, including paramedics and fire departments.

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