Gauteng Government receives CCTV camera access to fight crime

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Efforts to fight crime in Gauteng have received a much-needed boost through a partnership with Vuma Cam, which will allow the province to have access to an additional 6 000 CCTV cameras to keep an eye on the province’s streets.

CCTV cameras are part of the Gauteng Provincial Government’s strategy to utilise technology in the fight against crime. The CCTV cameras are being placed in townships, business districts, areas with high crime, roads, schools and other public places.

At least 6 000 of the cameras in question were rolled out by private companies, including Vuma Cam itself, Fidelity, and Navic. They have been used by private security companies and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) for a long time and have been highly successful in helping to apprehend suspects in a wide range of criminal activities.

These cameras are connected via Vumatel’s vast fibre network and feature artificial intelligence to detect significant events, raise alerts to potential crimes in progress, and recognise licence plates.

The Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) has now entered into an agreement with Vuma Cam to access the camera feeds.

The MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and e-Government, Mzi Khumalo, said government collaboration with the policing, security and technology sectors resulted in this agreement coming to fruition.

The campaign to fight crime using technology is an intergovernmental collaboration between the Department of e-Government, Community Safety and the South African Police Services (SAPS).

The collaboration is meant to boost all other available crime-fighting initiatives, through providing CCTV cameras, high-quality drones for surveillance, issuing of panic buttons to improve access to help from law enforcement officers during distress, and installation of tracking devises on cars.

Vuma Cam have committed to extending camera coverage to underserved areas, particularly within the TISH (townships, informal settlements and hostels) areas.

Vuma Cam CEO Ricky Croock said through the agreement, Vuma Cam is also offering an additional 5 000 partner cameras across South Africa, which would ensure that any known vehicle, involved in a criminal activity in another province, would trigger an immediate alert if seen by the cameras within Gauteng.

Acting Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Gauteng, Major General Tommy Mthombeni, said that this programme is a step closer to the realisation of e-policing, and it is important to also look after this infrastructure.

Vuma Cam has 6 000 cameras in Gauteng and 5 000 partner cameras across South Africa.

Meanwhile, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Ronald Lamola said the government’s sixth administration is steadily rebuilding law enforcement agencies like the National Prosecuting Authority to fight crime.

Lamola was speaking during the debate of the State of the Nation Address held in Cape Town.

“[It] is the sixth administration that strengthened the work of law enforcement agencies like the NPA [National Prosecuting Authority] by appointing permanent leadership in the upper echelons of the NPA and the SAPS [South African Police Service] and increased the operational budget resulting in visible institutional growth and stability.

“Organized crime verdicts have increased by 21% from 193 to 234 at a conviction rate that is above 80%. Gang leaders are behind bars or in court, whether it is Jerome Booysen, Nafik Modak, Ralph Stanfield, Mark Lifman and Vusi Khekhe, all are behind bars.

“The conviction rate in gender-based violence and femicide matters is at 74.6%. When it comes to successful prosecutions for cable theft matters, the NPA has exceeded some of the targets, the conviction rate is well above 85%, 299 convictions have been obtained from 347 cable theft verdicts,” Lamola said.

The Minister added that R3.2 billion from the criminal assets recovery funds has been allocated to fighting illegal mining and organised crime.

Furthermore, 2 996 arrests have been executed related to illegal mining activities as at December last year.

“SAPS is implementing Operation Shanela, a comprehensive plan to combat crime throughout the country. The plan includes clamping down on illegal mining areas.

“At the end of last year, the Asset Forfeiture Unit, Special Investigation Units and the Hawks have secured preservation orders to freeze assets which are proceeds of unlawful activities of a syndicate dealing in unwrought gold in Gauteng province.

“The frozen assets include 51 properties with a value of more than R16 million. In Mpumalanga, they secured a preservation order of assets worth more than one billion rands. The message is clear, crime does not pay and the tide against crime is turning,” Lamola said.