eThekwini employee arrested in sting operation for theft and vandalism of CCTV equipment

A handcuffed municipal employee jumps into an unbranded police vehicle.

A municipal employee was arrested in a multi-disciplinary sting operation for alleged theft, sabotage and vandalism of Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 20, 2024

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A man employed as an operator in eThekwini Municipality’s Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) surveillance room at the Municipal Disaster Management Centre in Durban was suspended and arrested for theft and vandalism of CCTV infrastructure on Tuesday.

This comes after the municipality, in a bid to win the war against crime late last year, embarked on a project to repair and upgrade CCTV cameras in the city centre.

According to the City a multi-disciplinary sting operation led to the arrest.

The City said this was a concerted effort to root out fraud and corruption by the City’s Disaster Management Unit, Metro Police, the City Integrity and Investigation Unit (CIIU) and the South African Police Service to send a stern message that no one is above the law.

“The 30-year-old male suspect was arrested today, 20 February 2024, following an investigation,” it said in a statement.

The arrest comes after the suspect was last week caught damaging the newly upgraded cables that link servers and feeds to the CCTV cameras, said the City, adding that these cameras are linked to the City’s Emergency Service Control Room.

The City said the control room monitors and detects crime while ensuring law and order.

“The Municipality has opened a criminal case against the suspect for theft, sabotage and vandalism of municipal infrastructure. The employee, who is one of the City’s CCTV camera operators, was also served with a notice of immediate suspension,” said the statement.

EThekwini Mayor Councillor Mxolisi Kaunda commended the law enforcement agencies, the Disaster Management Unit and the CIIU for their swift response.

“We are committed to rooting out any form of criminality within the Municipality and have adopted a zero-tolerance approach towards lawlessness. This City has no room for criminals and will not allow anyone who will compromise the safety of our residents, visitors and businesses,” said Mayor Kaunda.

Head of the Disaster Management and Emergency Services Unit Vincent Ngubane said the City will not hesitate to arrest anyone who tampers with and sabotages Municipal infrastructure such as CCTV cameras, even if it’s “one of their own”.

He said repairing damaged cameras is extremely costly and was a major setback in the fight against crime.

Residents are urged to report any suspicious and fraudulent activities which compromises service delivery to the CIIU on 0800 202020.

All services rendered by CIIU are free and the identity of the whistle-blowers is protected.

Police have been approached for comment.

The Mercury