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Eastern Cape Municipality Utilizes Hi- Tech to Combat Crime

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Vusi Melane
Vusi Melane
Staff Writer

Kouga Local Municipality in the Easter Cape province in South Africa deploys Hi- Tech real-time technology in order to eliminate crime. The tourist attraction town is well known for its fascinating destinations like Jeffreys Bay, Saint Francis Bay, Cape Saint Francis and Humansdorp.

Monitoring Centre

Ensuring the safety of both tourists and locals is paramount for this municipality. On a daily basis, the Monitoring Centre tracks hundreds of CCTV cameras across the municipality, keeping a watchful eye on potential crime.

Kouga Municipality Mayor, Hattingh Bornman says “This is for us a critical path of what we as a Municipality want to be. We want to be a safe town. We want specifically tourists who come to San Francis, Jeffrey’s Bay so forth. We want them to feel safe. We want them to be able to walk in the streets and not worry about carrying their cellphones and personal valuables. Our community as well is important for them to be safe.”

The surveillance center recently demonstrated its value by aiding in the apprehension of high-profile crime suspects, following the shooting of a local councilor. The monitoring team promptly analyzed the footage, resulting in the identification and subsequent arrest of the suspects.

Incident Command Centre Manager for Kouga Municipality, David Phelan says “When the shooting went down, the 2 shooters ran. South African Police Services- SAPS officers Support Unit were in the area, and they heard the gunshots. In 13 minutes the 2 shooters were cornered and arrested. The other 2 that were alleged with the getaway vehicle they were seen in the area. And because of the network that we do with the WhatsApp group. One of our teams from the law enforcement Detachment spotted the vehicle. Pulled the vehicle away as that was a schedule 1 offense. Detained the suspects and handed them over to SAPS when SAPS arrived. As it came out, they were actually involved.”

Public Safety App

The municipality has also taken further steps to ensure public safety by launching an app for local residents. In the event of an emergency, the app directly connects the user to the Monitoring Centre. It enables users to send real-time visuals through their cellphones.

Personal Security, Stuart Riddle says “It’s a downloadable App. You download and install on your phone. It has a number of features. Not just a panic App. It’s a personal security App. In essence the way we use it in the ICC is that one of your security SOS references that you put on to your phone. Instead of only your friends and family you put the ICC phone number in. If you activate the App at any stage, it automatically links to the ICC cameras where the ladies are monitoring. It downloads the location where you are. Live tracks the location where you are. It displays the video and audio where you are, so the person monitoring the system can see exactly what is needed? What the emergency entails? Whether to send the ambulance? Whether to send personal security? What your first respondent needs to do to come and support you in your time of need?”

Residents are highly content with the installation of these state-of-the-art cameras and the accompanying software. Local resident, Arnold Primo, says “The cameras are sufficient. Especially where the hotspots are. Kouga Municipality has done quite a good job. If they can also extend the camera installations to surrounding like Vaal Dam etc.”

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