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SA's Telkom scores major wins against vandalism

By , Africa editor
South Africa , 29 Jan 2024
Serame Taukobong, Telkom Group CEO.
Serame Taukobong, Telkom Group CEO.

Telkom, South Africa's telecoms company, has made significant progress in its fight against infrastructure vandalism.

The telecom operator reported today that effective cooperation between Telkom and the South African Police Services (SAPS) has resulted in hundreds of cable theft convictions, assisting in the fight against infrastructure vandalism.

South Africa is currently dealing with a serious problem of infrastructure vandalism and theft, which has resulted in companies losing millions of rands.

Telkom, along with its contemporaries Cell C, Vodacom, and MTN, have all been victims of theft and vandalism, resulting in disruptions to communication services.

In some circumstances, the frequency of vandalism and theft, particularly several repeat events, forces operators to leave base stations due to unfeasible replacement costs.

The Economic Sabotage of Critical Infrastructure Forum, a collaborative working group of Telkom, Eskom, Prasa, and Transnet, estimates that copper theft costs the country R7 billion per year, with a total economic effect of closer to R187 billion.

Telkom, which is led by Serame Taukobong as group CEO, announced today that, as part of a collaborative effort with SAPS, it assisted in the conviction of cable thieves and infrastructure vandals at various sites around the country.

It stated that the Telkom Security and Investigation Team has successfully reduced infrastructure-related crime at Telkom sites.

According to the corporation, the community has also played a key role by providing tips to police and Telkom reporting hotlines.

“Our partnerships made it possible to achieve great results, helping to turn the tide against crime,” said Sepadi Nkadimeng, executive: corporate security at Telkom. “Many arrests have been made, but most importantly, we’ve supported the process of driving cases through the courts to get positive convictions.”

According to Telkom, 3,003 individuals were apprehended between July 2017 and December 2023, averaging 600 arrests per year, 50 per month, or 1.5 per day.

Cases were opened against 2 549 individuals, and Telkom worked with key players both inside and outside Telkom to monitor these cases, assisting National Prosecuting Authority prosecutors with each case.

“Our team of investigators attended every court appearance of the accused, testifying and providing evidence as needed,” said the company.

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