IMPOUNDED: City has seized thousands of phones

If you’re worried what happens to your confiscated cellphone, it is being used for a good cause.

The City of Cape Town has handed over 150 confiscated cellphones to members of Neighbourhood Watch in and around the city.

The city is in possession of about 7 000 cellphones that have been impounded from motorists who were caught using them while driving.

These devices will now be rolled out to neighbourhood watches across the Cape starting with the first batch today, says the City’s mayoral committe member for safety, JP Smith.

Smith says thousands of phones have been impounded since the by-law came into effect in 2012.

Cellphones need to be collected within three months, but Smith says in this case they’ve waited for more than a year, and it became City property in terms of the impoundment policy.

“What we didn’t realise at the time was how much red tape we would have to cut through to clear personal data from phones that were never claimed.

“We initially planned to auction the devices‚ but then last year we had a brainwave to donate the phones to non-governmental and community organisations instead who could put them to good use‚” he said.

Smith says the City has helped set up the cellphones for the groups by clearing old data and loading start-up airtime.