Vandalism and Battery Theft biggest Threat to Connectivity in South Africa

According to Telkom, vandalism of network towers compromises access to connectivity especially during load shedding

Ever wondered why your cellular network connections weaken when there’s load-shedding in your area? It is the ripple effect of theft of batteries at base stations of mobile service providers and vandalism of network infrastructure. In the past year alone, Telkom and has lost 7841 batteries. As illustration of the Impact of the problem, Telkom could have built about 35 new base stations with the money lost from battery theft. This vandalism destroys back-up power that should keep communications active when lights go off and as a result; your productivity, connectivity and connection to those you need to be in touch with is affected. 

Unfortunately, that isn’t where it ends. As network towers enable the communications that ensures that vital services are delivered and day-to-day tasks are completed, vandalism of network tower infrastructure and theft also hurts the ailing South African economy on a macro-level, as well as a large proportion of the population that needs to participate in the digital economy. 

Access to the Internet and the mobile telephony are essential services, even more so during the coronavirus pandemic, and the destruction of the towers destroys these services as well. The result of poor Internet connection, and often no calls, can negatively affect an event of a life and death situation. Communities need to stand together in ensuring that the plague of theft and vandalism does not affect people’s lives further and accessibility to a world that is rapidly changing. 

Here is how vandalism and battery theft can be detrimental to you and the country at large:

  • It slows communications and connectivity down for all of us, in our personal capacity and as a nation. 
  • It negatively impacts people’s access to emergency services, disabling them from connecting to emergency services and putting people’s lives in danger.
  • It severely impacts local business operations
  • It endangers the lives of those needing critical care in hospitals.
  • It disrupts educational programs of our children and other students
  • Removal of batteries from, and vandalising network infrastructure at base stations, towers or any other sites, is illegal and a punishable offence and is a violation to people’s rights to access to information.

We’re taking many additional steps to defend against vandalism and theft at our sites, however; you can help us fight this challenge by assisting with information about base stations in your area. 

You can report network vandalism, battery theft or any inappropriate acts of network fraud or sabotage in the following 6 ways:

  1. Telkom Hotline: 0800 124 000
  2. Visit the Be Honest website:
  3. By adding Telkom on WhatsApp at 081 222 5999
  4. Email at
  5. SMS 48691
  6. Sending a post to Address: BNT165, Brooklyn Square, 0075

Alternatively, please visit your local police station with any information on planned or damaged site you may have that might help the authorities.

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