MTN says it continues to make inroads in the fight against battery theft at base stations.
Seven individuals were arrested, a total of 55 batteries were recovered, and four vehicles with tools were confiscated in a series of operations across the country in the past few days, the mobile operator said in a statement on Wednesday (4 March).
In one of the biggest hauls to date, members of the South African Police Services (SAPS) arrested a suspect at the Beit Bridge point of entry in possession of 32 batteries. His vehicle including a trailer were also impounded.
In another successful operation in Greytown in Kwa-Zulu Natal, three suspects were apprehended after a tip-off while they were still inside the perimeter of the base station. Two vehicles with false licence plates were recovered at the scene, including the tools the suspects used to break in.
The suspects have been detained and have been positively linked to other cases.
In another successful multi-party operation, MTN’s security and the SAPS nabbed three suspects after a tip-off from another telco operator. A total of 16 MTN batteries were subsequently recovered, MTN said.
“We are encouraged with the breakthrough we are making in the fight against vandalism and the theft of telecommunications infrastructure; all the hard work is finally yielding results. MTN will continue to collaborate with other telco companies to completely clamp down on the scourge of battery theft, which is costing mobile network operators millions of rands and depriving consumers access to communication services,” said Ernest Paul, MTN general manager: Network Operations.