By Oiva Angula
17 October 2014

At least 800 telephone lines in Windhoek have been rendered useless after the theft of cables on Thursday, affecting four suburbs.

Copper theft is suspected and a police report has been filed.

The hardest hit areas recently are Wanaheda, Ombili, Freedom Land and Khomasdal. Telephone and Internet services were paralysed.

Copper cables were cut and stolen at Claudius Kanduvazu Street in Wanaheda, affecting 800 customers in Ombili, Freedom Land and Wanaheda. These areas are covered by the Wanaheda Exchange on Claudius Kanduvazu Street.

It will cost at least N$580,000 to repair the damaged cables.

A copper cable theft case was recorded in the same area recently, with a 150-meter long of 2400 pair underground cable stolen at the corner of City and Kanduvazu streets.

In a separate incident on 16 October, an underground cable was cut and a piece stolen in Protea Street in Khomasdal, leaving some 40 customers without service.

In the past three months, at least six separate cases of copper cable theft were recorded in Omaruru Street in Eros, Windhoek.

Hardly a day passes without Telecom Namibia technicians discovering copper cables severed and stolen for selling to scrap metal dealers. Increasingly fibre cables are deliberately cut in several places, which points to sabotage of the national telecoms infrastructure.

This year alone, a number of copper cable thefts were recorded in Katutura’s northern suburbs of Havana, Wanaheda, Hakahana and Ombili, as well as Gryblok to the south. However, the problem is not just limited to Windhoek, but spans urban and rural communities all across Namibia. Every year, Telecom Namibia loses million because of copper cable theft.

Due to the frequent copper cable theft in these areas and the high cost of replacing stolen or vandalised cables, Telecom Namibia is seriously considering switching to wireless solutions in areas hard-hit by copper cable theft.

Theft of copper cables and vandalism of the country's telecommunications network are criminal acts punishable by law. Telecom Namibia urges the public to report any suspicious activities or malpractices around the Telecom Namibia infrastructure to the nearest Police Station or the Telecom Namibia Hotline at 0800 301630 or 061 301630, anonymously.

Telecom Namibia offers cash rewards of up to N$20,000 for information which leads to the arrest and conviction of any person or persons responsible for committing crimes of vandalism or theft on the Telecom Namibia network.

Telecom Namibia thanks customers for their patience and understanding as technicians continue to work hard on restoring all services as quickly as possible.

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