Theft ‘rife and not end­ing’

The Citizen (KZN) - - News - Sipho Mabena

Be­tween Jan­uary and De­cem­ber last year, over 2 000 in­ci­dents of bat­tery theft were re­ported coun­try­wide at MTN tow­ers alone, MTN’s gen­eral man­ager: net­work op­er­a­tions, Paul Ernest, has said.

He said the high lev­els of theft of cell­phone tower bat­ter­ies was “wor­ry­ing and not end­ing”. Ac­cord­ing to Paul, as many as 13 450 bat­ter­ies were stolen and that more than 700 bat­ter­ies were stolen in Jan­uary this year in 122 in­ci­dents.

He said de­spite ad­di­tional se­cu­rity mea­sures, tow­ers were still un­der siege but said they have in­vested in tech­nol­ogy and had hoped this will help re­duce theft in­ci­dents and lead to ar­rests and con­fis­ca­tions

“Equip­ment such as gen­er­a­tors, air con­di­tion­ers, se­cu­rity in­fra­struc­ture and fenc­ing is also be­ing dam­aged and stolen. The theft of diesel and ca­bles is also rife,” he said.

This week the po­lice elite unit, the Hawks’ Port Shep­stone Se­ri­ous Or­gan­ised Crime In­ves­ti­ga­tion and K9 unit in KwaZulu-Na­tal, pounced on three sus­pects around the Hib­ber­dene area and seized 48 cell­phone tower bat­ter­ies val­ued at R480 000.

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