How SA criminals wreck mobile networks to steal batteries

Mobile operators face many challenges in South Africa – a lack of spectrum, poor ministerial and regulatory environments, and red tape slowing down their network rollouts.

One of the biggest challenges, however, has nothing to do with government or funding. It is the damage which criminals cause when stealing cables, batteries, and other network equipment.

MyBroadband recently published an article highlighting how criminals are causing massive damage to South African telecoms networks, resulting in downtime for consumers and costing operators millions.

Many of the cases of theft and vandalism involve criminals stealing batteries from mobile containers. These batteries are often stripped, as shown in the following photos.

What is left of very expensive batteries once the lead had been stripped
What is left of very expensive batteries once the lead has been stripped
Stolen batteries stripped for the lead
Stolen batteries stripped for the lead

Cell C battery theft and network damage

Cell C, like Vodacom and MTN, has been a target of battery theft and vandalism targeting its mobile network containers.

Here are some of the cases where criminals broke into containers and caused massive damage, to steal batteries.

Break-in and theft in Bramley Park

Criminals cut the main gate’s padlock with a torch to gain entry to the site, and then broke into the battery safe to steal 8 batteries.

Cell C Bramley lock damage
Cell C Bramley lock damage
Cell C Bramley damage
Cell C Bramley damage
Cell C Bramley damage, batteries stolen
Cell C Bramley damage, batteries stolen
Cell C Bramley safe damage
Cell C Bramley safe damage

Break-in and theft in Alexandra

The intruders destroyed the locking mechanism, and then wrecked the battery cabinet and an air conditioner to steal 8 batteries.

Alexandra lock damaged
Alexandra lock damage
Cell C Alexandra damage
Cell C Alexandra damage
Cell C Alexandra damage, batteries stolen
Cell C Alexandra damage, batteries stolen

Break-in and theft in Union settlement

The intruders cut 2 palisade bars to gain entry to the site, and then cut the container wall at the back.

The criminals then broke open the battery safe to steal 16 batteries.

Cell C container damage
Cell C container damage
Cell C union damage
Cell C Union damage
Cell C damage, batteries stolen
Cell C damage, batteries stolen

Break-in and theft in Woodlands

The criminals cut 2 palisade bars to gain entry to the mobile site, and then damaged the container’s locking mechanism to get inside. Here, 16 batteries were stolen.

Cell C Woodlands fence damage
Cell C Woodlands fence damage
Cell C Woodlands cables cut
Cell C Woodlands cables cut
Cell C Woodlands batteries stolen
Cell C Woodlands batteries stolen

Break-in and theft in Armadale

The intruders cut 2 palisade bars to gain entry to the site, and then broke into the container and stole 16 batteries.

Cell C Armadale container damage
Cell C Armadale container damage
Cell C Armadale damage
Cell C Armadale damage, batteries stolen

More on damage caused by criminals

How criminals are wrecking South Africa’s telecoms networks

Criminals messing up noble IT project in South Africa

Internet in SA: A playground for faceless criminals

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments

Recommended

Share this article
How SA criminals wreck mobile networks to steal batteries