Telkom has put up a reward of R500 000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of saboteurs who attacked its network on Wednesday.
The company said on Thursday morning that a number of its facilities around the country were targeted in a “series of acts of sabotage”.
Facilities in Midrand, Pretoria West, Silverton, Durban, Pinetown, Pietermaritzburg, Makhado and Messina were sabotaged, it said.
“This is not vandalism — the criminals who damaged our property knew what they were doing,” said spokeswoman Jacqui O’Sullivan.
“Cables have been cut to cause maximum damage. Entire street distribution cabinets, which are located in neighbourhoods to serve multiple streets at a time, have been ripped apart and in a few instances yesterday, set on fire.”
Telkom hinted but did not say directly that striking Communication Workers Union (CWU) members might behind the attacks.
“At some sites, specialist equipment was required to access the fibre cables and the criminals were clearly using equipment that is not commonly available,” said O’Sullivan.
The police, with support of additional investigators and Telkom’s own forensics team, are pursuing a “number of good leads” to identify the saboteurs, she said.
Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko said the company’s offer of a R500 000 reward will be paid to anyone – including Telkom employees – who can supply pertinent information about the attacks on its network. They should call Telkom’s crime reporting line on 0800 124 000.
“We apologise to our customers who have been inconvenienced by this senseless sabotage. We are working to repair the damage as quickly as possible,” O’Sullivan said.
The attacks come just days after CWU members blocked access to Telkom facilities. Employees were barred from entering the Telkom campus in Centurion and were intimidated and threatened, the company said in the statement.
“Telkom secured an urgent interim order to interdict the union from illegal activities such as blockading entrances to facilities and offices and intimidating staff,” it said.
“The interdict also instructed that CWU members who are participating in the strike must do so 50m away from Telkom premises.”
The union is demanding an 11% increase for all bargaining unit employees. — © 2016 NewsCentral Media