The City of Cape Town says they have impounded nearly 10 000 phones since 2012. File picture: Michael Walker

Cape Town - The City of Cape Town says thousands of impounded phones have reached their cell-by date and will be auctioned off soon.

It’s a case of going… going… gone as city officials prepare to sell cellular phones confiscated from drivers over the past three years.

Mayco member for Safety and Security, JP Smith, says they have impounded nearly 10 000 phones since 2012.

Of these, 2 600 have never been reclaimed, and these will be auctioned off to the public in the next few weeks.

Smith said: “The numbers are staggering and an indication that many motorists still refuse to acknowledge the dangers of using cellular phones while driving.

“Sometimes people are scared to go and get their phones because they have outstanding fines and warrants of arrests, and rightfully so, they will be held accountable,” said Smith.

Smith said a notice about the auction would be published in newspapers soon.

“The phones will probably be auctioned in batches, and anything that doesn’t sell – probably the older phones – will be donated to a charity,” said Smith.

He said the most popular phones cops are confiscating are Blackberrys, iPhones and Samsungs.

Smith said: “Since the implementation of the impoundment policy came into effect in July 2012, an average of 3 155 cellphones have been confiscated annually from Cape Town drivers, totalling 9 465 by June 2015.”

These include people talking and texting while driving.

Motorists are allowed to remove their SIM cards before giving up their phones.

Smith said they are now trying to figure out how to sell the phones without compromising people’s personal information.

“We are navigating our way through unchartered territory in respect of the mobile devices, particularly relating to the issue of personal data that remains on the phone, even with the removal of the SIM card,” he said.

“We are awaiting the appointment of a service provider to assist with the removal of data from the handsets.”

Daily Voice