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Telkom Copper Cable Theft
Blog 014 - 19 June 2012
Photographs taken along Non Such Road

Telkom Copper Cable Theft

A while back whilst walking my dogs along Non Such Road, I was introduced to cable theft. The previous night thieves had stolen the telephone cable that ran along poles from Town Bush Road up to Africa Enterprise. I then understood how easy it was to remove the cable, as it is not attached to all the poles it traverses. On the intermediate poles it simply passes through eye-bolts, presumably to accommodate the expansion/contraction the cable experiences. Ironically this probably also makes it and easier / cheaper to string up. So the thieves simply cut the cable at the poles where it is attached, pull it off the poles, and strip the copper out of the insulation. The insulation gets left behind and some of it can still be found lying besides the road. Some of these discarded section still contain the copper.

A week ago I walked along the first plantation access road that leads off to the right, from the upper end of Town Bush Road. There I found the remains of the Telkom cable that runs up the last kilometer of Town Bush Road to the Harrison Water Works. More irony here. The remains of the cable are lying in drinking water that is flowing down the tracks of the plantation road. But never mind that the leak has been there for some time now, the views of the city from further down this plantation road, were simply wonderful. The rest of the walk was also great, and as I walked, I was once more impressed by how orderly the plantations around city are kept.

More recently, I discovered that thieves had now also stolen the replacement cable from Non Such Road. It was also obvious that it would not be replaced this time. Instead, it will be inserted into ducting that will be installed in the trench that is being dug along Non Such Road. There may be more irony here. Recently I have twice read accounts in The Times, describing how large areas of Johannesburg have been without telecommunications, as a result of thieves having pulled Telkom cables from ducting in the area. Presumably they now work between manholes and not poles.

Between the two Non Such Road Telkom Cable thefts, I did some MTB cycling along dirt roads in the vicinity of Muldersdrift in Gauteng. There in the Cradle of Humankind, I noticed that all the overhead Telkom cable similar to that in Non Such Road, had been stolen from the poles. The poles to which the cables were attached, remain with with cable segments traipsing from them, like branches on a traditional Christmas-type fir tree. While I was photographing one of these poles, a local resident driving past stopped. During the ensuing conversation I learned that they had long since abandoned Telkom and now everyone used a Satellite Phone.

Further Reading

  1. Telkom under siege from copper thieves
  2. Kenya cracks down on cable thieves

  3. [email protected]
    E-mail address Robert Dempster home page icon www.robdempster.com