State of Capture: Molefe questions use of cellphone data


The public protector's State of Capture report relied heavily on cellphone data. Eskom CEO Brian Molefe is questioning the legality of its use and its accuracy.

PRETORIA – The public protector's State of Capture report relied heavily on cellphone data but Eskom's implicated CEO, Brian Molefe, is questioning its legality and accuracy.

The report places Molefe at or near the Guptas' home in Saxonwold more than 17 times in less than four months.

Molefe disputes the findings of the report.

Get the state capture report here

"The Olifantsfontein offramp and turn right you will see Teazers which is just next to the highway. My cellphone records will reflect that twice a day I am uncomfortably close to Teazers. I don't think that's in the spirit of the Constitution," said Molefe.

But technical experts say cellphone geolocation is very accurate.

Dobek Pater, a technical analyst, says: "There are a lot of base stations around and normally the signal is picked up by two to three different base stations. It's called triangulation and it's used to pinpoint your location."

The Eskom boss however says he was in the Saxonwold area on several occasions – possibly at the local shebeen.

VIDEO: Where in the world is the Saxonwold shebeen?

But experts say triangulation is accurate, within a metre or two.

"That is sufficient because if you are deep in the Gupta compound, 20m into the hallway and going to the pool you probably are within the gates of that enclosure, not watching it from across the street," adds Pater. 

Another analyst says the data simply cannot be challenged. 

Toby Shapshak says: "If you want to see efficiency at work it is the billing structure of a major cellphone network – they are incredibly accurate.

"They have to bill you according to these records, they do not make mistakes.

"Any attempts by Brian Molefe who has been exposed as a liar to say that he wasn’t there is just fraudulent. "

Molefe says he will be seek legal advice on the public protector's use of his records.

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