- Telkom, a South African telco provider, says it’s working tirelessly to arrest and ensure the conviction of entities perpetrating cable theft and infrastructure vandalism at its various operations across South Africa.
- The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)-listed telco revealed that its Security and Investigation Team is working with the South African Police Service (SAPS) as part of a joint effort.
- So far, the company claims to have executed “hundreds of convictions” in the last six years, which has helped it significantly reduce infrastructure vandalism.
The company says this crackdown is part of the Telkom Group Security Strategy to implement security governance and responsive security risk management within its organisation.
In a statement, Telkom gave a nod to the community for the crucial role it played by tipping off the police and Telkom reporting hotlines. These efforts by upstanding community members, the company explained, have led to a significant reduction in infrastructure-related crime at Telkom facilities across the country.
Commenting on the development, Telkom Executive on Corporate Security and Investigations, Sepadi Nkadimeng, said effective partnerships with the police and community members made it possible for the company to nip the crime in the bud.
Nkadimeng also revealed that the collaboration resulted in both arrests and successful convictions. The company claims it accomplished this by closely monitoring all open cases, assisting the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), and attending each court appearance of suspected vandals.
Between July 2017 and December 2023, 3,003 people were arrested on various charges. So far, 523 perpetrators have been successfully convicted, amounting to collective sentences of 2,594 years imprisonment. Additionally, 311 suspects currently have arrest warrants issued against them, while 1,126 alleged vandals are awaiting trial.
In a high-profile case in 2023, a syndicated group was indicted for theft, racketeering, and money laundering in a joint operation. After the case wrapped up, five members were successfully convicted, with prison sentences ranging from 18 to 83 years.
Telkom expressed satisfaction with South Africa's courts' zero-tolerance approach to cable theft and infrastructure vandalism. Offenders are facing steep jail sentences.
According to The Economic Sabotage of Critical Infrastructure Forum, a joint task force comprising Telkom, Eskom, Prasa and Transnet, cable theft in the country amounts to R7 billion ($372.24 million) in economic damage annually.