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Telkom picks up the pieces after unrest in SA

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Telkom is pleading for patience among its customers, as the company rehabilitates vandalised infrastructure in the aftermath of last week’s violent riots that engulfed parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The telephony group says there is an increase in the number of technical faults in some parts of the country.

Telkom, Vodacom, MTN and Cell C were all victims of the week-long riots, as acts of violence resulted in vandalism of network facilities and disruption of communication services.

In a statement, Telkom says it prioritises the integrity of the network and has continued with network operations where it is safe to do so.

“In order to protect employees, technicians have not been dispatched to certain areas and we continue to monitor the situation to ensure employee safety. This has resulted in an increase in the number of incidents and length of time that we are attending to incidents and the total number of incidents to be attended.”

According to Telkom, the violent incident at Durban harbour damaged its subsidiary BCX’s warehouse and is likely to negatively impact delivery times of hardware.

“We request patience as we manage the impact of these incidents on the supply chain. In addition, we are working with our distribution partners to enable us to continue to meet our commitments where it is safe to do so.”

The telco is also rehabilitating affected stores, but cautioned that where the risk remains high, the stores will remain closed and customers are directed to alternative channels.

Telkom also notified shareholders that although the financial impact of the destruction to property and disruption of Telkom operations, suppliers and business partners is still being collated, the company is on course with recovery of operations impacted by the mass action in the past week.

The damage to infrastructure prompted telecoms regulator the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) to issue a stern warning to protestors.

ICASA also approached the National Joint Operations and Intelligence Services to prioritise the safeguarding and protection of this critical telecommunications infrastructure.

“Such wanton destruction of the broadcasting infrastructure and facilities represents a direct attack on the constitutional right of individuals and communities to access news and information that is accurate, unbiased and up-to-date about the current crisis,” ICASA cautioned.

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