Repairs begin after R250m hi-tech system breakdown left municipal assets largely unmonitored
The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is repairing its hi-tech CCTV camera system, which went on the blink last year.
Repair work – which started last month – has already led to some cameras being repaired or replaced, while the main system servers are also being assessed.
Wright Surveillance was awarded the temporary contract to get the CCTV system back online and to ensure that footage is recorded.
Last year, it was revealed that the network had fallen into disrepair, with only about 300 of the 1 287 CCTV cameras operational.
Of these, about 500 were not even hooked up to the system while the rest – which also monitor municipal depots – were simply not working.
Yesterday, metro disaster management head Shane Brown said they were expecting a detailed report by the end of this month to determine the exact shortcomings of the systems.
“We know that technology gets outdated and needs constant upkeep, which is one aspect that we are now focusing on,” he said.
“The contractors are compiling a report for us and, based on that, we will know how to proceed.
“We have managed to patch and secure the servers, which now allows us to monitor and record functioning cameras across the metro.
“The issue that we are still trying to determine is how many cameras need to either be repaired, or if some simply have to be reset.”
Brown said only once they had updated the software and reset the cameras would they have a better idea of the extent of the issue.
“For this reason we are also working on a policy for an in-house team, who will solely be responsible for the maintenance and checking of the cameras,” he said.
“In addition, we are looking for a structure which will be mandated to control the CCTV cameras and operators.
“Some of these cameras are early warning detection devices which allow us to monitor low-lying areas that could flood as well as roads that flood, such as the Third Avenue dip.”
Over the past 10 years, at least R250-million has been poured into a hi-tech security system.
Last year, the system was on the brink of collapse, plagued by constant disruptions and shutdowns, forcing municipal staff to do regular patchwork in a bid to have at least some of the city’s cameras working.
The breakdown has left municipal assets – such as depots with vehicles, equipment and the armoury – unmonitored for days at a time, while municipal staff try to resolve the problem.
The cameras are also used to monitor crime hotspots, as well as traffic flow at busy intersections.
Brown said that some of the functioning cameras would be used to monitor the Ironman route.
This comes after several attacks last year on cyclists, including top Ironman competitors.
“We are already planning for this and, in the near future, will have areas of the route covered to ensure security while training is under way,” Brown said.