Phone cable theft getting out of hand in rural Midlands

2012-05-24 00:00

IN the last three weeks copper thieves removed telephone cables in the Underberg, Bulwer, Ixopo, and Highflats areas, and farmers in these areas are saying the situation is getting out of hand.

Telkom spokesperson Pynne Chetty had not responded to e-mails and was not answering his phone by the time of going to press.

A source in Telkom said theft in the Underberg area started about three weeks ago at the entrance to the town.

“Thieves have stolen about five kilometres of phone line.

“The farming areas are also affected. On Monday night they stole cables in Bulwer and Highflats in Ixopo.”

The source said affected people would have a lengthy wait to have their phone lines restored, depending on where they were.

In an e-mail, a community member in the Underberg area said they were at their wits’ end.

“On the night of Tuesday, May 8, the criminals struck Telkom again.

“They removed 1,7 kilometres of telephone line along the main road between Reichenau and Underberg, all for a small amount of copper.

“We are now in the same boat as other people who have already suffered at the hands of these criminals who are working the rural areas of the KZN Midlands. Until further notice my Telkom line is out of order.”

Paul Duncan, a farmer in the Howick area, said phone cables to his farm were stolen a year ago and Telkom told him it would not be replacing the lines.

“We are really battling. We can’t do anything, and even our Internet service is very poor,” said Duncan.

Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge confirmed that cases of phone cable theft had been reported in Underberg.

He said they had increased visible policing in that area.

• thamsanqam@witnesss.co.za

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