The Citizen (KZN)

‘Illegal’ cameras saga on appeal


- Sipho Mabena

Complaint concerns illegal surveillan­ce, says resident and activist.

The 58 public surveillan­ce cameras installed in Lonehill have come under sharp focus as the City of Joburg’s “spy” camera saga heads for an appeal, with the Right2Know (R2K) campaign pushing for the “illegal” cameras to be taken down.

Correspond­ence seen by The Citizen show that the city’s senior legal advisor, Perry-Como Smith, advised the Johannesbu­rg Roads Agency (JRA) to cancel the wayleave for the cameras installed by the Lonehill Residents Associatio­n

(LRA). He also made a written undertakin­g that these cameras would be removed but activist and resident, Gavin Borrageiro, has complained that the cameras are still recording.

Borrageiro said the city’s ombud recommende­d that the wayleave for the cameras be cancelled. “The complaint is with regards to illegal surveillan­ce. LRA needs to show us where they have their wayleave because we have evidence to the contrary,” said Borrageiro.

“The fact is the wayleave was cancelled and evidence on file from the city says [LRA does] not have wayleaves.”

The ombud had concluded that the wayleave was “granted without following the due process of law, by holding a public consultati­on for the affected… Therefore the granting of the wayleave without consultati­on was in breach of [Promotion of Access to Informatio­n

Act] thus, must be cancelled. Instructio­n was given to the JRA to cancel.”

LRA general manager Keith Rampton has consistent­ly refused to answer questions about the status of their wayleave, insisting on seeing the R2K’s complaint before commenting.

The LRA also operates an artificial intelligen­ce camera at the Lonehill Dam Park, which has sparked concerns around the rights and privacy of children as it was filming the play area.

City of Joburg spokespers­on Nthatisi Modingoane said “the matter is before court as the city has appealed and we cannot comment at this stage”

The city is involved in a legal tussle over the installati­on of surveillan­ce cameras in mostly wealthy suburbs, with the matter likely to go as far as the Constituti­onal Court.

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