Telone Spends $20 000 On Cable Theft Bounty

In 2017 Zimbabwean fixed phone operator, TelOne lost more than $100 000 worth of telecommunications equipment that was mainly copper cables because of theft and vandalism.

Many of the cables get stolen in the middle of the night. They become an easy target for the criminals because they are generally situated far from the houses and people, and there are endless miles of cables to choose from, which makes them pretty much impossible to protect.
TelOne came up with a bounty program to curb the theft of copper cables and telecommunications equipment in an effort to fight crime and vandalism. Since the rollout of the program, Telone has paid over $20 000 in bounty payments, and 122 criminals have been arrested so far.

In Zimbabwe, cable theft carries a standard 10-year sentence and five years for transporting or harbouring criminals.
The Postal and Communications Act Chapter 12:05 states that the ringleader (s) of a copper theft syndicate should be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years, while their accessories should be given five-year jail terms.

The number of copper cable thefts had increased in recent times mainly fuelled by illegal copper dealers who ultimately sell the scrap copper to neighbouring countries.
Vandalism of telecommunications equipment is affecting internet service and service delivery provision to the people of Zimbabwe.
Theft and vandalism of essential infrastructure is a continuous and severe problem for both the government and business, with thieves stealing everything from cables and heavy metal in buildings to even traffic lights, taps, lamp posts and sewer covers.

TelOne has also joined forces with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority and the Zimbabwe Republic Police to bulk up patrols at the country’s borders to minimise the smuggling of copper stolen from the TelOne network.

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