MtnSA to spend more than R1billion to counter vandalism, battery theft

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Telecommunications company MtnSA says it will be spending R1.5 billion to counter the effects of vandalism, and battery theft as well as to counter load shedding.

Mtn took the media on a tour to Soweto to look at how its infrastructure is being negatively affected by vandalism. But the company has reiterated that this problem is not isolated as it occurs around the country.

Mtn says its network has been severely affected by vandalism over the last few months.

The media got a glimpse of some of Mtn’s network sites that have been vandilised and repaired in Soweto.

Mtn South Africa’s Jacqui O’Sullivan says, “We wanted to give the media the opportunity to have a look at some of the sides that we are dealing with so have given the media the opportunity to come and see what is happening in Soweto.”

Mtn says the Eastern Cape is mostly affected with almost 400 network sites being vandalised and that load shedding has a direct correlation with the spike in vandalism and battery or generator theft at network sites.

The company says during stage 6 load shedding there was an escalation of attacks and tower companies recorded a 250% increase in the loss of generators. It has reiterated that the challenges it is facing have affected its network availability.

Chief Technology and Information Officer, Michele Gambenni says, “We are facing two challenges – one is vandalism and the next one is load shedding. And this has been particularly severe in 2022. There are sites that have been vandalised several times.”

Mtn says consumers bear the brunt as it takes longer to repair the damage caused by diesel theft, copper, battery and generator theft as this affects connectivity.

The company says its network availability plan has resulted in an upgrade of over 3 000 network sites by the end of February this year. It adds that the May completion target is likely to enable significant improvement in network availability in the 2nd half of the year.