In a drive to fight crime and vandalism, TelOne has initiated an anti-vandalism campaign to bring to an end theft of copper cables and telecommunications equipment.
Since the beginning of the year, TelOne has lost $100 000 worth of cable and equipment.
However, the loss is not so much in the value of the equipment but in business as disruption inconvenience customers and affects the quality of service, revenue lost annually is estimated at over $1 million.
In an interview, TelOne Communications and Client Experience manager Melody Harry said, her company would offer a reward of up to $1 000 to members of the public who provided information on theft and vandalism of cables and equipment.
“The reward is paid instantly provided an arrest has been made, or the stolen cables having been recovered,” said Harry.
“People with information do not have to reveal their identity and can choose how they want the reward to be paid.”
“Over $10 000 has been paid out as rewards and more than 20 copper cable criminals have been caught and sent to jail,” she added.
Due to the recent upsurge in network vandalism and theft cases where criminals target network infrastructure to extract copper for sell in neighbouring countries, TelOne has partnered with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Zimbabwe Republic Police (CID) unit and Border Control Unit to prevent copper smuggling syndicates involving cross border buses and trucks.
In July this year members of a copper smuggling syndicate were caught at Plumtree Border post after a bus carrying 1 249 kilogrammes of copper with an estimated value of $10 000 was intercepted at the border. They face up to 10 years in jail if convicted.
Smugglers have been cashing in on the stolen copper which most of them sale illegally in neighbouring countries. The copper is reportedly on high demand and is used to manufacture bullets and coffin handles.