Cable theft costs Telkom R3-billion

In the past three years Telkom has suffered almost R3-billion in losses because of cable theft, Parliament was told on Friday.

The losses are made up of the value of the material stolen, the cost of security to guard against theft, and lost revenue as a result of the absence of phone lines, according to a written reply given to a question from the Democratic Alliance to Siphiwe Nyanda, the Communications Minister.

Telkom uses outside contractors to improve their protection against theft, Nyanda said. “The vendors have intelligence capacity and are specialised in curbing cable theft,” he added. “The decision to use vendors has also assisted the Telkom Group to efficiently manage limited internal resources.”

The minister said that the nature of the protection being provided has now changed from reactive patrol to proactive operation.

He also said that penalty clauses have been in effect since last year, which mean that the payments to the contractors are reduced if they fail to cut the amount of cable stolen.

The cost of security has risen sharply during the past three years from R127-million in 2006/07 to R231-million last year. But as a result, the cost of replacing or repairing the copper stolen has dropped from R179-million to R141-million. The loss of revenue has, however, shot up from R368-million to R907-million. The minister pointed out that the revenue loss figures are estimates only. — I-Net Bridge

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