MTN has suspended the services of a company which is alleged to be involved in battery theft at the operator’s base stations.
In order to protect equipment at its towers, MTN appointed Bidvest Protea Coin as the main contractor to oversee security at its base stations.
In turn, Bidvest sub-contracted Isizathu Projects.
MTN executive for corporate affairs Jacqui O’Sullivan confirmed to MyBroadband that MTN was launching an investigation into allegations made in a tweet posted by a user claiming to be an employee of Isizathu Projects.
“We are aware of the allegation made by the Twitter user, the matter has been escalated to all relevant parties including the MTN forensic & investigative division, Bidvest Protea Coin, and Isizathu Projects management,” O’Sullivan said.
Isizathu’s services were suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
Instruction from manager
The Twitter user, who says his name is “Thabang”, claimed that his manager had instructed them to perform an “extra/side job” when maintaining the alarm systems at MTN’s base stations.
My name is Thabang working for company called Isizathu Projects, we go around all @MTNzaService towers, maintaining arlam system.But we were told to do extra/side job which is taking the tower batteries. Our manager instructed us to do so. @Abramjee @SAPoliceService @thesafrican pic.twitter.com/g1pYHo5xlZ
— Jack (@Jack_Maaa) January 17, 2020
The user alleged that this involved leaving the battery containers unlocked after work is completed and returning later to steal the batteries.
The batteries are supposedly then collected by the manager on Sundays in Tshepisong, at a location next to Leratong Hospital.
Major problem at base stations
Cellphone tower battery theft and vandalism at network base stations pose an enormous challenge to mobile operators.
MTN previously told MyBroadband that the situation had reached crisis levels.
It said it had spent more than R100 million to clamp down on acts of theft and vandalism in 2019.
“MTN has had to deploy security teams around the country to protect the equipment at these sites,” O’Sullivan stated.