Johannesburg – Telecommunications company MTN says theft of batteries from its cellphone towers costs the company millions to replace, and also causes disruptions to its network provision.
The company has asked the public to be on the lookout for any theft or vandalism at its towers.
In a recent statement MTN spokesperson Mthokozisi Ndlovu said about 20 batteries, which had been stolen, were recovered.
“Syndicates have been targeting our towers over recent months, stealing batteries worth millions of rand,” Ndlovu said.
MTN South Africa general manager for network operations Ernest Paul said the vandalising of equipment caused disruptions. “Sophisticated criminal syndicates have an impact not only financially, but to the industry as a whole,” he said.
He added that battery theft and related vandalism are costing MTN hundreds of millions of rand and the impact is exorbitant, considering that as many as four to 16 batteries need to be replaced at each site. “To replace batteries at 100 sites, for instance, would cost well over R10 million and then several more millions would be required to cover the costs of fixing the damage done to the cellphone towers.”
A call has been made to the public to continue to blow the whistle on those involved in the theft of batteries from the towers. Paul said the company had adopted an action plan in a bid to beef up security.
He urged community members to report cellphone tower battery theft to Bidvest Protea Coin through 086 101 1721;
MTN fraud line 083 123 7867 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Telkom call 0800 124 000; Vodacom, 0800 990 520; and Cell C, 084 174 4321