National 7.9.2016 09:23 am

Sabotage blamed for Telkom disruptions

A sign outside the Empangeni Telkom offices referring to Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko.

A sign outside the Empangeni Telkom offices referring to Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko.

CWU workers went on strike on August 11 after wage talks with the telecoms giant collapsed.

An Empangeni businessman says his enterprise is suffering, as he has had no telephone or internet connection for nearly four weeks, Zululand Observer reports

“On the evening of August 10, my telephone lines went off for the first time,” Zulfire owner Rod Gradwell said.

“I called Telkom the next morning and again on August 15 after my fax line also went offline.

“For the past week, I have called virtually every day, and I am promised that a technician will come and attend to the problem.

A protester holds up a sign outside the Empangeni Telkom offices.

A protester holds up a sign outside the Empangeni Telkom offices.

Brett Poupard, of Neotek Empangeni, said his ADSL clients in Empangeni had outages almost every day for a
week during the initial stage of the strike.

“Fifty percent of my ADSL client base was down, Empangeni for four days and Richards Bay two days here and there,” he said.

Clients with mobile and fibre optic connections, meanwhile, did not suffer outages.

Gradwell said he ran into a Telkom employee last week, who told him they were having endless problems with sabotage, individuals unknown breaking boxes and burning cables.

READ MORE: Rewards ‘not a solution’ to Telkom woes

Telkom has issued several statements in which they assert that the ongoing strike by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) has led to a spike in sabotage on their infrastructure, a claim that CWU denies.

Telkom is now offering a R1-million reward for information leading to the arrest of any persons responsible for the sabotage.

CWU workers went on strike on August 11 as wage talks with the telecoms giant collapsed.

Telkom spokesperson Pynee Chetty on Wednesday referred questions from the Zululand Observer to statements published on Telkom’s website.

“Since the commencement of the strike by members of the CWU almost five weeks ago, Telkom has experienced an increase in acts of sabotage on its network, especially in Gauteng, Limpopo and the KZN province,” read a statement on the website.

“Over 60 of our Street Distribution Cabinets (SDCs) have been damaged in the past few weeks and fibre and copper cables cut. While most of our infrastructure has now been fixed, our technicians are working round the clock to ensure that those that remain not fixed are brought back on stream.”

– Caxton News Service

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