Any regular reader of N24 would be aware that fraud and incompetence is endemic and systemic in South Africa. The extent and severity is regularly debated, especially when the government (read ANC) is blamed. A regular counterargument is the “What are you doing about it?” riposte.
One of the advantages of having a live-in scion who is in the IT industry is to have a wireless network, ASDL connection and uncapped data. (As well as over-spec laptops for each family member –LOL.) The downside is the day when he decides to accept a position overseas at twice the salary here. His sister is currently an officer on a cruise ship, so the nest will be empty! And the house quiet! But that is not important right now, as Sir I would say.
What is important is that this ADSL line has been installed since May this year when we moved into the premises. All went well until the past 2-3 months when the line would sporadically just die, leaving us Internetless and me without the means and opportunity to spew my regular venom, disdain, doom and gloom and general depressed outlook on the world.
Some 8 or more visits from Telkom failed to resolve the matter. Comments ranged between asperities cast on my eldest’s ability to set the network up, the hardware used, up to and including admitting a problem at the exchange, but not the ability to fix it. All this verbatim of course. (Mind you one or two of the technician were fairly decent guys, pity that they just could not resolve the problem.)
This morning, my usual phlegmatic son used words and phrases that would have been amusing for their inventiveness, colourful expression, stunning example of coarse language, descriptive analogies to various animals, people and objects, and acts that would astound and boggle the mind, (including gymnastics and assistance from certain deities), were they not, as it turned out, justified.
Turns out that the telephone line is “blocked for overseas calls”. Now the point is that he is paying for the line and offered to continue to do so, subsequent to his departure for hopefully, better climes. Financial ones that is. So yes; we can Skype, we can use Google Talk, we can use many a technical solution, but we want to call anywhere we want to. Is that not the object of having a telephone??
But, and this is the thing; Telkom told him that somewhere someone is “tapping/clipping” the line (directly, or at the exchange), and thus they have to block the line to prevent unauthorised access. He was also informed that should he wish to have the line unblocked, he must sign an indemnity form for call costs, should fraud/unauthorised calls take place. These costs would be for his account naturally. The alternative solution they offered was to get a global phone card or some such.
I at first thought that this is some BS, until I got onto my friend the Internet Searcher. Pans out that this is not unique. See http://220.127.116.11/argief/berigte/dieburger/2009/01/20/PQ/5/kptelkom.html dated 2009. Similar story.
So the user is liable for the inability of Telkom to secure their own service offered. Certain overseas banking transactions are no allowed via cell phone, they apparently are unaware of, or just could not care about.
So how much is SA plagued by fraud and theft? How deep does this go? I am told that traffic lights with simcards and Telkom towers are vandalised for their cards to make cell phone calls until the line is blocked, by who knows when.
Question is what can I do about it? Is our telephone line issue really as a result of someone tapping into it? The article in 2009 (4 years earlier), would suggest so. The general incompetence, fraud, and theft in South Africa certainly suggest so. Bottom line is that Telkom, (as much as the government, read SAPS), is unable to curb theft. And the customer pays and pays and pays.
Money that could have been spent on a kid for his rehabilitation, hunger and education.
The one that’s on the corner at the robot, begging in the rain.......
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