Durban — The eThekwini Municipality says it has plans to fix defective cameras in the city.
eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Gugu Sisilana said that the municipality was forging ahead with its plan to fix defective outdoor surveillance cameras in a concerted effort to ensure the safety of residents and tourists.
She said that the City’s street cameras, also known as closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV), operate on power and fibre. The cameras became defective after some of the fibre cables were washed away during last year’s floods.
Sisilana said that Disaster Management head Vincent Ngubane recently presented a detailed plan of action to fix the cameras before the Safety and Security Services Committee. The City has budgeted R110 million for this project.
“A letter of award for CCTV cameras was signed on July 14, 2023, and part of this contract includes fibre installation, maintenance and repairs. The contractor is already on the ground, and we anticipate that all our cameras will be up and running by the end of November in time for the festive season,” Sisilana said.
She said that while the project of repairing the fibre was already under way, the City had also increased the number of visible law enforcement officers deployed to all crime hot spots. This includes township areas which also have active police stations.
“Police work closely with other law enforcement agencies in ensuring that our residents are safe. We also have beach patrol and law enforcement along popular tourist areas such as our beaches and hotels. We also have rangers at parks who ensure that the safety of our residents and visitors goes beyond just the bustling city centre. This is in addition to our security management officers. We are currently in the process of recruiting more metro police officers with the aim of ensuring that our city is crime-free,” Sisilana said.
She said that while security cameras were a deterrent, keeping homes and streets safe was a shared responsibility.
“Criminals are members of our communities, and live in our homes. Stolen goods are sold to and bought by our neighbours. Hence, the City encourages communities to work together to end the scourge of crime. There will never be enough security cameras and police if we, as communities, continue to hide criminals in our homes and backyards.
“Crime statistics reveal that in most cases, criminals such as rapists are known to their victims. Our streets will only be safe from criminals when we all rise up and stop hiding rapists and murderers in our homes,” Sisilana said.
The update on the municipality’s cameras comes after DA eThekwini member of Safety Emergency and Security, Sharmaine Sewshanker, revealed that only 14% of CCTV cameras were functional in eThekwini.
On Monday, Sewshanker said that a report brought to the Safety Emergency and Security Committee detailed information showing that the repair, maintenance and upgrade of the much-needed CCTV control room would only be concluded by December 14.
“This is four months just to prepare a report, how much longer is it going to take this municipality to repair the CCTV cameras across the city?
“With less than 14% of the city's CCTV cameras operational city-wide, 69 of 499, the city has failed abysmally to prioritise the safety of the residents of this city. This is while the mayor and his cronies remain fully protected at City Hall where 95% of the cameras monitoring City Hall and their offices are fully functional. There is no regard for ratepayers,” said Sewshanker.
She added that the handover of the CCTV monitoring system from the disaster management unit to metro police was being dealt with at a snail’s pace. Back in January, Metro Police Commissioner Sibonelo Mchunu made a commitment to “reduce crime by 50% in three months”.
“Nine months later, the eye in the sky has gone blind in the wake of spiralling crime and his words have been proven to be the usual blast of hot air,” Sewshanker said.
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