SA truck mishap caused internet blackout

Minister Supa Mandiwanzira

Cde Supa Mandiwanzira

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Correspondent
THE country was yesterday hit by an internet blackout that affected various sectors of the economy that largely depend on online connectivity for their operations.

The blackout started at about 11AM and mobile broadband services started operating at about 4PM with full internet access normalising around 6PM.

The blackout was reportedly caused by a truck that cut the fibre optic link that supplies the country in South Africa.

Traders were affected by the blanket disconnection as their clients could not make point of sale transactions because their machines were down.  Money transfer agencies like Western Union and MoneyGram were grounded as well.

“We were completely isolated from the outside world. I panicked. I have rarely been without internet when I need it. Today I realised how much our lives revolve around the internet,” said Ms Zibusiso Blessings Dube of Mahatshula suburb. The Chronicle newsroom was inundated by callers who were eager to know what was happening.

“I can’t access Twitter or WhatsApp, my main sources of information,” lamented a caller who declined to give his name.

In an interview, the Minister of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security Cde Supa Mandiwanzira said Government was concerned about the blackout as it affected the running of the country’s economy.

“We’re very concerned as Government that the people failed to get service for most of the day and that has hugely affected business. Internet banking wasn’t working, mobile banking wasn’t working. A lot of travel agents had been complaining, they couldn’t issue any tickets. Several Government services were not available because they are internet-based. So in way we are concerned to have such kind of a problem especially at this time,” said Cde Mandiwanzira.

He said the shutdown was caused by technical faults affecting local service providers.

Cde Mandiwanzira said he had assigned the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) to investigate the issue and put in place measures to forestall similar disruptions in future.

“I as the minister have been talking to Liquid Telecom and TelOne who told me that they had a connectivity problem in South Africa where their fibre optic cable was cut off by a truck 17KM into South Africa,” said Cde Mandiwanzira.

“But we would have expected that the redundant services should have sprung into action but it seems they had some problems but through the regulator we will look into what the problems were and how this can be avoided in future.”

In a statement, TelOne apologised for the disruption in service provision saying it was normalising its internet connectivity services.

“This is due to faults that occurred on our main links through South Africa and Botswana. Our back-up link through Mozambique has remained active with limited connectivity.

“The link through Botswana has now been restored. We, however, still have limited connectivity as our major link through South Africa is still being worked on. Our partners and engineers are on the ground working to restore full service,” said TelOne.

@nqotshili

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  • Supa i horo

    supa i horo shuwa h must resign we dont need that fool in that ministry

    • Madzibaba Bhawureni

      Saka unoreva kuti Supa ndiye ayi driver rori yakadambura tambo .

      • me

        he cant talk of problems emanating from then regulator whereas the same regulator falls under him ,what has he been doing for the past yrs in that office if he didnt solve those problem

  • justice mahango

    are 100 dependend on optic fibre wht happened to mazowe ad other alternatives serious a country as skilled as we are we should have contigency measures for situations like this.mr minister please attend to this as internet is our lively hood nowadays

  • Umzila Kawulandelwa

    This story doesn’t deserve this headline if one line will jus say a truck cut the optic fibre link… How did that happen?

    • M.M.

      it was a tractor not a truck

  • Wellington

    You should open up the space for other players to minimise these failures and costs associated with the service

  • mzwangendaba

    This is worrying….sabotaging shouldn’t be that easy.

  • M.M.

    Hey Chrocle … which is the tuth …. the Herald who are closer to the issue said it was a City Council tractor in Kuwadzana surbubs … and you are saying it was a truck … hey hey hey …… don’t feed us lies

  • sorojenachipangamazano

    The government have seen the dangers of depending solely on this Electronic Information Technology.Zvikadzima 1 week chete Nyika inonyura,so there is need to have ways of having a backup system or parallel operational ways to support in case of emergence of a similar nature.

  • Mixed Race

    Let me advise you minister that telecommunications is a field which requires properly qualified personnel to plan and implement projects which give sustainable and efficient networking into and outside the country.What happened yesterday is clear proof that our vital communication network is poorly planned because it is not diversely connected to outside countries.We should have many alternative routes eg via microwave links,satellite links and fibre optic cables to ensure uninterrupted connections to the outside world.The system should be programed to reroute itself after selecting the most reliable and fault free links connecting us to the outside world.In most countries fibre optic cables should be buried at a depth of a meter or more,which is outside the ploughing depth.