22nd February 2024 12:54 pm
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Limpopo hit by Telkom fibre “sabotage”, takes out mobile operators too

Three attacks on Telkom’s fibre infrastructure left much of Limpopo without mobile or internet coverage yesterday, in a series of events the operator says were designed “to do the most damage“.

In a statement issued this morning, the operator says that the outages weren’t typical of cable theft and affected business and individuals all over the province. It’s offering a quarter of a million rand reward to anyone who can provide information about the attacks.

Anyone looking to claim the R250 000 should call Telkom’s hotline at 0800 124 000.

“Three significant cable breaks occurred but this was not cable theft. This was the targeted and considered action of a person or persons who knew where to go, how to access the fibre and how to do the most damage. This was sabotage”, said Telkom spokesperson Jacqui O’Sullivan.

The matter has been reported to SAPS and the Department of State Security.

“The Criminal Matters Amendment Act has created a new offence to criminalise damage to essential infrastructure or interfering with the functioning of basic services through criminal activity. We will vigorously pursue this investigation and will make sure that the full might of the law is brought to bear on any person involved in this crime,” said O’Sullivan in the statement.

What makes the attack potentially more significant is that only yesterday, Telkom boasted that it is the data partner for the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and its network would be used to carry sensitive voting data from stations around the country. The company has not connected the attack with the election, however.

In what could be bad timing, yesterday the Communication Workers Union (CWU) marched to Telkom’s HQ to deliver a warning that it would “cripple operations” for the operator if its 11% wage demands aren’t met by 11th August. It should be made clear, however, that the CWU was threatening strike action and downing tools rather than industrial sabotage.

It appears that normal service is being restored, according to reports from Twitter.


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