eThekwini to get more than a hundred CCTV cameras

July unrest a motivating factor in Vumacam expanding its presence to the coastal municipality.
The Vumatel subsidiary says it will invest R1m towards the first phase of the rollout in Durban while ultimately aiming to go onto a ‘platform pricing structure’. Image: Supplied

Residents of eThekwini (greater Durban) can expect to feel safer in their streets as Vumacam will be planting 115 poles containing CCTV technology at critical locations across the city, in an effort to not only combat crime directly but to better coordinate crime prevention efforts.

This security infrastructure rollout in the region forms part of the first phase of Vumacam’s expansion into South Africa’s third largest city. The rollout is expected to commence within the first 10 days of March.

Vumacam, a subsidiary of Vumatel, says it already has 1 623 ‘live poles’ and 6 339 live cameras in the City of Johannesburg, the City of Ekurhuleni and Mogale City in Gauteng.

“We hope to bring eThekwini the benefits that Gauteng communities have enjoyed, knowing that the support we offer to the police, security companies and private citizens, ensures safer cities for everyone,” Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock says in a statement.

“The more we expand the network, the larger the exponential impact on crime and the more support we can provide through collaboratively tackling crime over vast areas,” he adds.

July unrest

Croock says the riots and looting that took place in July in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng are among the motivating factors behind Vumacam’s move to explore expansion into eThekwini.

The destructive riots, which ensued following the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma, are estimated to have cost the country’s economy about R50 billion – and more than 300 people their lives.

“Given the incidents that happened in July last year and the additional need for security, we fast-tracked the rollout to eThekwini,” says Croock.

He points out that the unrest highlighted the value of a coordinated security response in combating crime.

Costs

Vumacam says that as a private-sector led initiative, the company will take full responsibility for the project’s rollout and will put up R1 million towards the implementation of the first phase of the expansion.

“This is a private company initiative. We put up our hands and we said we want to make a difference and we want to invest; we know that bringing technology is the right thing to do and that’s approach we have taken.”

With ambitions to roll out over 2 000 public space cameras in the eThekwini municipality, Croock says that it remains a possibility that ratepayers may have to chip in a little towards the costs the infrastructure rollout.

“This is something that we are working on closely to give a lot of the benefits to the city, but we do need to monetise it and make sure its sustainable going forward …”

Read: Vumatel to blanket Joburg in CCTV cameras (2019)

“We understand that it is large infrastructure, a big rollout, and we need to prove the concept to security companies, residents’ associations, city improvement districts and smart villages on how we can bring additional security without breaking the bank and making sure that people are safer,”  says Croock.

“We are looking to go onto a platform pricing structure. We are looking at working with the security companies to put [up] a nominal fee – anywhere between R15 and R50 – onto armed response collections that enable everyone to pay a little amount but then to afford the 2 400 cameras and more that we want to roll out.”

Capabilities

The cameras will provide high-definition feeds and offer support to law enforcement agents and private security operations by:

  • Alerting them to crimes in progress or potential crime situations to monitor and investigate;
  • Enabling them to use CCTV footage for formal investigations into criminal acts by safely storing incident footage for investigative purposes;
  • Providing situational awareness to better inform and protect on-the-ground response teams;
  • Reducing response times through accurate deployment of resources; and
  • Enabling collaboration and sharing of criminal activity to ensure enhanced apprehensions.

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