EPTC runs out of copper as copper thieves strike
AS the Eswatini Post and Telecommunications Corporation continues to be rocked by the problem of copper theft, it has since been revealed that in the month of February and March, copper theft was so rife the company actually ran out of copper in its storehouse in Matsapha.
This was copper used to replace stolen copper in various parts of the country.
Eswatini Post and Telecommunications Company Manzini External Copper Network Supervisor Patrick Msibi revealed on Wednesday during the trial of four copper theft suspects who were nabbed after allegedly stealing copper at Mafutseni area and surrounding areas.
The accused persons appeared before Manzini Principal Magistrate David Khumalo. They were slapped with three counts of copper theft amounting to over E100 000.
The four, Nhlanhla Mtshali, Samkeliso Mtshali, Nhlanhla Dlamini and Siyabonga Ndwandwe pleaded guilty to some of the charges and not guilty to some. Elaborating before court about the predicament faced by EPTC Msibi said it was not only the company that suffers losses but the whole nation. He said EPTC suffers losses because copper is bought outside Eswatini.
He said the communication industry gets set back as a result, internet connections are affected whilst most clients rely on the internet for conducting their business.
He said banks, hospitals and a lot of government services get affected.
He said the company is inturn forced to refund clients for lack of service delivery.
Msibi said another thing that must be noted was that the amount to replace stolen copper usually doubles in value because when purchasing copper they also have to hire personnel to work on the site where the copper needs to be replaced and pay for overtime.
Msibi also said that copper theft becomes rife around the month of February and March, the same period the accused allegedly stole the copper cables.
The accused were remanded back into police custody and will appear again in court for trial on 30 November.