EPTC runs out of cop­per as cop­per thieves strike

Swazi Observer - - NATIONAL NEWS - By Si­fiso Nh­la­batsi Manzini

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.

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