Telkom cable theft causes major disruptions

Telkom services in the Hennopspark, Akasia and Rietvlei exchange areas in South Africa were disrupted last night when cable thieves cut and removed several main cables.

Cable thieves cut and removed several main cables in South Africa (image: file)

The theft caused major service disruptions and customers with the exchange codes 653, 480 and 549 in the Chantelle extensions, Hartbeeshoek, Amandasig, Karenpark, Verresig, Mooikloof Ridge extensions, Rietvallei, Rooihuiskraal extensions and Wierda Glen suburbs are affected.

The total number of customers affected is 1523, with 1105 of those being residential lines, 255 business and 163 corporate.

Telkom has already commenced with the restoration of the affected services and has deployed several teams to expedite the repair process.

Telkom Managing Executive for Network Field Services Theo Hess says the services will be progressively restored until close of business on Friday 26 April 2013. “We apologise for the inconvenience caused by this outage and assure customers that we are doing all we can to curb any further cable theft in the area.”

Telkom has reported the incidents to the South African Police and Telkom’s internal security, and the police have launched an investigation. Affected customers qualify for pro-rata rebates on their line rentals.

“Copper cable theft remains a major inhibitor to Telkom’s capability to maintain and improve service levels. We appeal to customers in this area to be on high alert and to report any suspicious activity to the Telkom 24 hour crime/fraud hotline number 0860 124 000,” says Hess.

In Telkom’s ongoing efforts to counter the scourge of copper cable theft, explains Mr Hess, it has adopted various interventions, which include, but are not limited to, the following:

–       Proactively alarming critical and sensitive cable routes and employing services of armed security firms.

–       Deploying various wireless technologies that are alternatives to copper.

–       Assessing vulnerable aerial cable routes and, where feasible, these are buried underground.

–       Working closely with the Non-Ferrous Theft Combating Committee (NFTCC) under the auspices of Business Against Crime and the South African Police Services, to jointly find ways of protecting our cable network.

–       Implementing a national campaign to raise awareness of the Company’s toll-free crime-report line (0800124000) as the co-operation and support of all communities is vital in stamping out cable theft. All members of the public are urged to assist Telkom by making use of this number if they see any suspicious activities.

Staff writer