Cellular firm, MTN, has shut down 53-cellphone towers in Gauteng due to, what it says, is severe damage and vandalism.

The move comes as MTN and Vodacom warn that criminal syndicates are targeting their towers, in attempts to steal batteries and copper cables.

MTN South Africa’s General Manager for Network Operations Ernest Paul says they are increasing security measures around the towers.

“We are dealing with a massive problem where almost on a daily basis there are towers that go out of service due to vandalism and theft. We’ve got close to 100-base stations that are completely out of service and need to get back on and be repaired.”

He adds: “The batteries are going into areas where there is probably a lack of power, so people going off the grid. MTN is probably going to be spending around R300 million in the financial year on security measures for replacement costs and repairs. We are getting phenomenal support from the police.”

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