Friday, December 14, 2007

Cable Theft Cuts off Klaarstroom

- Sharon Witts-Hewinson -

A series of thefts of Telkom telephone cables along the road between Klaarstroom and Prince Albert cut off landline telephones over a large area for a week during November.

The first raid saw thieves make off with 4 km of valuable communication lines in the vicinity of the farm, Paradys, on the night of Wednesday, 7th November. No sooner had a team of hard-working Telkom technicians replaced the lines in record time, when the thieves struck again on Sunday, the 11th. This time 5 km of cable was stolen near Middelwater. These cables connect Klaarstroom and farming areas as far afield as Zeekoegat with the rest of the world.

According to local Telkom technician, Johan van Zyl, the old cables, such as there are on the lonely stretch of road between Klaarstroom and Prince Albert, contain valuable copper wire. Copper is apparently much in demand in the manufacture of cell-phone technology. Telkom replaces the cables with a new sort of cable which contains an alloy and not pure copper.

According to Constable Japhta of the Klaarstroom Police, sophisticated syndicates are often behind this sort of theft. Although certain cables are alarmed and police can be notified of illegal activity on the line, invariably the thieves are long gone by the time law enforcement arrives. Frustrating for the police and Telkom, in the second theft, two of the cables were left untouched so as not to activate the alarm.

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