Eswatini is experiencing a rapid increase in the criminal act of cable theft and vandalism. This is a crime that affects everyone as it has an impact on the delivery of crucial services, primarily the provision of electricity, and telephone and Internet services.
Even if the copper cable is replaced, it is stolen days and even hours of being replaced posing an endless economic drain.
Copper cable theft and vandalism not only costs the Eswatini Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (EPTC) millions of Emalangeni in lost revenue, but it also inconveniences customers, businesses (especially small ones) during a time when the country is already struggling because of Covid-19 restrictions. Copper cable theft just like copper cable vandalism is an endless loss which needs everyone to fight against.
It may not be you affected today but in future you can also be affected. Copper cable theft and vandalism affects the entire nation and it can take everyone to fight against it to stop.
Acts of cable theft and vandalism are committed within our neighbourhoods and communities, sometimes by people we know. Cable theft not only disrupts the supply of communications including internet connectivity in households, businesses, but it also has a significant effect on the economy. The tax payer ends up paying the full price of copper theft and vandalism while it benefits the criminals only.
Criminals steal infrastructure such as copper cables to make easy money and with each incident, thousands of homes are left without electricity, communications services for many hours or days even months. Businesses that have no access to generators have to close and unfortunately lose money as they cannot operate during the period of copper theft and vandalism.
Many small businesses have become heavily reliant on the internet to be able to conduct their business operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so a disruption to internet connectivity due to cable theft and vandalism places such businesses at a huge loss and even closure.
Copper theft and vandalism has a significant impact on connectivity, and it costs the telecommunications sector millions of Emalangeni year after year. Copper cable theft and vandalism reported incidents data shows that more than 80 areas across Eswatini have been identified as hotspot areas for cable theft and vandalism, where thousands of copper ADSL customers are heavily affected. The incident reports show that the whole country has hotspot areas.
Cable thefts cause many parts of the economy to come to a standstill and it is expensive to replace such infrastructure.
If cable theft or vandalism occurs in your neighbourhood, you are now more likely to feel its effects than before as many work from home and need reliable power and internet connection.
We all have the responsibility to report any acts of cable theft or vandalism. You can report cable theft and vandalism by contacting the Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS)’s crime hotlines on 999 or 9999. All information is treated confidentially and you do not need to share your identity.