In light of increased theft and vandalism, Vodacom KZN, in partnership with the communities, has taken a stand against theft and vandalism.
With over 1000 base stations in the province, many of which are in isolated areas, these base stations are being targeted.
The theft and vandalism of these base stations leave many communities without communication, also causing millions of rands worth of damage. Vodacom is implementing new measures to make sure that thieves are caught and prosecuted.
Cellular base stations are the only form of connectivity available to many communities. Damaging and stealing of diesel, power cables and mainly batteries at base stations cut off thousands of people.
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“Local cellphone network providers lose millions of rands to damages, which impacts the cost of mobile services and the connection of communities. We repeatedly see situations where people cannot make emergency calls,” said Ishmael Mathinya, executive head of Network Operation for Vodacom KwaZulu-Natal.
Each theft incident can result in the network in that particular area being down for days and can severely impact business and schools.
The damage of facilities can result in diesel spillage. Vodacom has ramped up the fight against criminal activities by working closely with the law enforcement agencies and security companies.
“We appeal to members of the community to report this form of crime to the police. The number one line of defence is the local community. We urge anyone who sees suspicious activity around our base stations to report it to the police. It is in everyone’s best interest to act before their signal is cut off,” Mathinya said.
As a result of working closely with law-enforcement authorities, a number of arrests were made. “The clear message that we want to send to criminals is that if you target our base stations, you will be caught and you will be prosecuted. We’d like to appeal to ordinary members of the community to report incidents of battery theft or site vandalism by calling our toll free number 082-241-9952 or SAPS on 10111,” Mathinya said.