BY FARAI MATIASHE
Small-scale miners in Mashonaland West province have gone rogue and destroyed $500 000 worth of TelOne network infrastructure, forcing subscribers to go for more than 10 hours without connectivity.
In a statement yesterday, TelOne spokesperson Hazel Ndebele said the damage by the small-scale miners affected more than 1 000 users in Makuti and Kariba area last Saturday.
“Small-scale miners are damaging the TelOne network infrastructure with the most recent damage being the cross border link in Kariba/Makuti area which was impaired over the weekend, affecting more than 1 200 clients at an estimated average cost of $500 000,” she said.
“The damage by the small-scale mining activities resulted in loss of services on September 21 from 10:26am. Services were restored the same day at 20:31pm. Restoration took longer than anticipated due to the rocky terrain in the area.”
Ndebele said the cross-border link carried data and voice traffic for the whole of Kariba and other countries up north who connect through Zambia.
She said to avoid further damage, TelOne’s risk team was already raising awareness and educating the small-scale miners on the consequences of damaging the telecommunication infrastructure while route markings were being enhanced to clearly mark where there is underlying infrastructure.