Buffalo City Metro CCTV a farce?
By: Yola Kekezwa
The Buffalo City Metro (BCM) installed Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera systems in the Central Business District (CBD) and along the beachfront to curb crime.
The R1,7 million project “came to light’’ after retired East London Police Cluster Commander Major-General Sandile Hloba suggested it to BCM Mayor, Zukiswa Ncitha, in 2012 according to the BCM website.
In her June 29, 2012, State of the Metro Address (SOMA), Ncitha said; “Due to the number of criminal incidents in the beachfront area, we are installing CCTV cameras,” and “In the next financial year we will undertake a comprehensive needs analysis for the installation of more CCTV cameras in other hotspot areas’’.
SABC News reported April 12, 2013, that the Democratic Alliance (DA) called for CCTV camera’s to be installed in the Metro following the robbery of human rights lawyer, Dali Mpofu on April 11 on the East London beach front.
The beach front and CBD CCTV installations follow a 2011, R3 million surveillance system installed at the Highway taxi rank eMdantsane.
The Mdantsane installation may have met with ambivalent reception with regards to effectiveness and public awareness. Informal traders interviewed at the Highway said; they “have never heard about the CCTV cameras” and or unaware of their location. 2012/13 SAPS crime statistics report “2.47 crimes per 100 000 people for Mdantsane” according to 2011 Census data. The figure is reportedly lower than the Provincial and National average per 100 000.
Local taxi driver, tat’uRhobiyane says, “Ever since the introduction of these cameras the crime rate in the area has decreased, but we will always have thieves in the area and the cameras will always catch them so I’m happy about the progress at our taxi rank”.
Whilst Thapelo Ndzaba says, “These cameras are nonsense, We are still getting robbed and people are breaking into our taxi’s even with these camera’s here, you won’t see who got into your taxi and took your stuff.
“Even if you go to the police station, they won’t show you the footage but will tell you to lay a complaint, we don’t see the point of these cameras,’’ He said.