CCTV security cameras in the city centre have come under the spotlight again, following the recent alleged abduction of a 22-year-old TUT student by a group of men in a red car, reports Pretoria East Rekord.
Jessie Buhle Myanga was reportedly kidnapped somewhere between Sammy Marks Square and Thabo Sehume Street on Friday.
Buhle was found safe, but “drugged”, in Centurion two days later.
“If the cameras in the CBD were in working order, police would maybe have picked up this car that goes around the city kidnapping young girls,” said the kidnapped girl’s father, Mandla.
“The city centre is not safe at all,” he said.
A source told Pretoria East Rekord the cameras monitoring crime in the CBD alleged had been shut down in August after a contract between the Tshwane metro and Morubishi Technologies expired.
“The control room is empty,” the anonymous source claimed.
“Nobody is monitoring the cameras. Morubishi also owes employees a month and a half’s salary. Due to the shutdown of the control room, the community is no longer safe. People in the city centre are being mugged, pick-pocketed and stabbed because of this problem.”
The source alleged the the control room was empty “almost 24/7”.
Morobushi Technologies director Fana Moraka confirmed that their contract with the metro had lapsed.
“It lapsed six months ago; however, the city renewed it monthly until it was finally terminated in August.”
He said the company sacrificed much working with the municipality for those six months, paying employees out of their own pockets.
Moraka said this because of the city only paying the company at a later stage for services.
He said the company had also not received payment from the city for a month’s work.
He said, however, the issue was being sorted out with the metro.
“I believe we would soon receive the month’s payment to pay employees the remainder of their salaries,” said Moraka.
The source claimed this was just “for show” as the city knew that the media was coming.
Safety and security MMC Karen Meyer said that the CCTV cameras were fully operational.
“The operations room is operational and being operated by the TMPD.”
She admitted that the control room was “short-staffed” on the day of Pretoria East Rekord’s visit, but said they could manage with the team deployed.
“The contract with the service provider has lapsed. This is normal as it happens from time to time in government procurement processes.
“The metro is exploring various options to not only maintain and upgrade its existing CCTV infrastructure in the inner city, but also expand the footprint of its coverage to the greater Tshwane areas,” she said.
Meyer said this was part of a three-pronged approach.
This included the process of finding solutions for upgrading and maintaining existing infrastructure. The metro was also looking at options for expanding the infrastructure and seeking new partnerships with various private sector entities across the city to tap into and work with existing networks.
“It is my understanding that the formal processes are at an advanced stage and that the mayoral committee will be presented with a report on the potential options soon.”
She said CCTV operations were only one of several tools available to law enforcement.