Now Bishopstowe has no landlines

2008-01-23 00:00

NOT only do they have frequent power outages, Bishopstowe residents, businesses and the local police station are also coping without landline phones following widespread cable theft.

Bishopstowe Police Station’s administrative block has had no phones for the past two weeks and police there are relying on neighbouring stations to process their crucial documents and case numbers.

“We reported the matter on January 7 to Telkom and we were told that the problem is due to cable theft. When we called a week later, we were told that replacing the cables could take up to three months as Telkom has run out of cables and needs to put out a tender process, which could take a long time to finalise,” said clerk Shaun Singh.

Singh said he has to go to the Cramond, Camperdown or Mountain Rise police stations to process leave applications and case registrations.

“We cannot use the computer or fax and Telkom should find a short-term solution to this problem,” he said.

Local businessman Brian Goddard, who runs his business from home, said he cannot use his fax or the Internet, and it is expensive to use his cellphone.

“Are there no technicians to attend to our problem as we are paying customers? We don’t want to fight with anyone, we just want to make calls and receive calls,” he said.

A workshop business owner, Michael Bergh, said he has lost about R20 000 this month. He said he has to travel a kilometre to make a call on his cellphone because there’s no signal in the area.

“There are rumours doing the rounds that the cables may never be replaced because they have been stolen too many times. I think Telkom should put in optic fibre [cables] because copper is valuable and that is why people steal it,” he said.

He said some business owners in the area receive their orders by fax.

“I have even bought an intercom to talk to my son who lives on the same farm, but when there’s no electricity I can’t talk to him.”

Koos Marais of the Kwanalu (KwaZulu-Natal Farmers’ Union) help desk said farmers had a meeting with Telkom representatives.

He said farmers’ problems are worsened by Eskom’s electricity cuts.

“There are areas where cellphones don’t work, which causes farmers to suffer more,” said Marais.

Midlands SAPS spokesman Superintendent Henry Budhram said Telkom is busy working on the lines and community policing forums have given out the Bishopstowe Police Station commissioner’s cellphone number in case of emergencies.

Telkom spokesman Nabintu Petsana said cable theft is a national problem.

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