JRA wasting taxpayer money with “spy camera” court case – Vumacam

The Johannesburg Roads Association (JRA) intends to appeal a recent High Court ruling which dismissed its case that accused Vumacam of spying on innocent South Africans.

When the JRA’s wayleave department reopened on 9 June, it refused to allow Vumacam to expand its security camera network in the City of Johannesburg, arguing that Vumacam wanted to spy on citizens and sell the footage to third parties.

It said it would no longer accept wayleave applications for aerial and CCTV installations.

However, the Gauteng High Court ruled on 20 August that “the decision to suspend the consideration of aerial and CCTV wayleave applications is declared to be unlawful and invalid.”

“There is no dispute that Vumacam complies with the legislative prescripts set out in the Protection of Personal Information Act of 2013 (POPIA) insofar as protecting an individual’s privacy rights are concerned,” said Judge Bashir Vally.

Contesting the ruling

Vumacam said in a press release that it has been informed of the JRA’s intention to contest Vally’s ruling.

Vumacam CEO Ricky Croock said the appeal impacts the rollout of cameras and infrastructure that could provide critical surveillance support to SAPS, JMPD, and private security companies in their attempts to reduce crime.

“We have engaged extensively on the issue with the JRA but they still went to court and Johannesburg’s tax payers are again on the hook for huge legal fees when the law is already very clear,” said Croock.

Croock also said that the appeal is “unnecessary and concerning” in the wake of finance minister Tito Mboweni’s announcement that municipalities have allegedly spend R1 billion in legal fees.

According to Croock, surveys show that 98% of South Africans are happy with the existence of Vumacam’s infrastructure, and he said there is “cohesive and large-scale buy in” for the service.

“Our doors are always open to any party or individual who wants to learn more about our operations; however we’ve made repeated offers to these organisations that have been turned down,” Croock said.

Vumacam also highlighted the following:

  • Vumacam does not collect personal data.
  • Vumacam does not sell personal data to third parties and does not intend to do so.
  • Vumacam anonymises all data and does not have any means to link footage to any individual’s personal data.
  • Vumacam built its platform based on international privacy standards that exceed POPI compliance.
  • Vumacam provides situational awareness to curb criminal activity and to assist in medical emergencies.
  • Vumacam operations are in line with all current by-laws and the necessary permissions have been granted for all operations.
  • Vumacam does not spy on law-abiding citizens.

Now read: Vumacam wins big court battle over “spy camera” accusations

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JRA wasting taxpayer money with “spy camera” court case – Vumacam