With the rising incidents of copper cables in the countrywide, persons accused of impairing, damaging and stealing telecommunications equipment could face long prison sentences and hefty fines if convicted under the Communications Regulatory Authority Act of 2012.
As per the Act, any person who steals any telecommunication equipment; wilfully and unlawfully damages or destroys any telecommunication equipment, or does any act with an intent to, or knowing that it is likely that such act will, impair the usefulness or efficiency or prevent or impede the working of any such equipment, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable to a fine of not less than P50,000.00 but not more than P1, 000,000.00 or to an imprisonment for a term of not less than five years but not more than 15 years.
Recently, BTC -the leading telecommunications operator celebrating 40 years of progress- has pleaded with the public to help stem the rising incidents of theft of cobber cables and damage to its telecommunications infrastructure which is denying service to customers.
In an interview with BTC Corporate Communications and Public Relations Manager, Golekanye Molapisi, pleaded with Batswana to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement to help curb damage of its infrastructure and the theft of BTC copper cables
He said these acts of vandalism have affected BTC’s mandate of offering reliable and efficient services to customers at all times especially during these trying times of Covid-19. “When copper cables are cut and stolen the end result is service disruption meaning customers do not have access to communication means which could put lives at risk. For example, if there is an incident a customer cannot call an ambulance, phone the police or any other emergency service for assistance, hence putting people’s lives at risk.
Further these cable thefts result in internet service outage which in turn affects customers’ access to e- services and the ability to transact either online or through the ATM denying customers the opportunity to buy or pay for services. In essence cable thefts negatively impacts businesses and their ability to provide service especially during these trying times of COVID-19, he said.
Molapisi said the recent damage and theft of BTC copper cables at Gaborone (Block 7, 3, 5) Mogoditshane, Tsolamosese, Village and Phakalane amongst other areas, resulted in a service outages of fixed voice and internet services. Exacerbating the scourge could be scrap metal dealers who buy and sell stolen copper.
On 26 – 29 May 2021, BOCRA, in collaboration with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and United Nations University, hosted a virtual workshop on Waste from Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).
Bringing together Statistics Botswana, Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS) and the Department of Waste Management and Pollution Control, the objective of the workshop was to equip Botswana with tools to record incoming electrical and electronic goods to better estimate the quantities of electronic waste that will be produced when these products reach their end-of-life cycle and become e-waste. Botswana, currently, does not have a legislation to address to the issue of e-waste.
E-waste is a health and environmental hazard as products containing toxic additives or hazardous substances are mostly dumped or incinerated rather than being collected for treatment and re-use of recoverable substances. This is especially so among most of the developing countries.
E-waste includes discarded household or business items that have electrical and electronic circuitry components with a power or battery supply such as mobile phones, computers, printers, televisions irons, refrigerators, kettles etc.
The Global E-Waste Monitor 2020 report estimates that 53.6 million metric (Mt) tonnes was generated in 2019, making e-waste the fastest growing domestic waste stream. The report also indicates that only 17.4 percent of the 2019 e-waste was collected and recycled.
The ITU estimates that e-waste quantities have been rising rapidly in the past 5 years due to several factor such as rapid growth of the digital society, higher consumer demand for digital devices, short life cycles and few options for repair.
According to the ITU, e-waste is a challenge and an opportunity. The ITU calls on member states to develop legislations and strong partnerships with industry and businesses to protect human health and the environment from the consequences of inadequate handling of our discarded devices.
Modipane based brickmaking company Katlego Bricks received a brand new stock brick machine and mentorship from leading cement producer PPC Botswana this past Wednesday.
“Community development is important because it provides the foundation a society builds off of to improve the lives of its citizens. It creates strong, diverse communities that can attract and keep talent, start and grow businesses, and overcome issues that arise. Katlego Bricks has been a loyal PPC Cement consumer in the Mmodipane area.
What is more impressive is that this brick yard is led and managed by a lady who understands the craft of brick making so much,” said PPC Botswana Head of Business Unit Tuelo Bolthole.
The arrival of the new brick-making machine is expected to increase productivity at the Modipane based Katlego Bricks which has been using 25 cement bags in a day and will be expected to use at least 40 bags in a day due to the new machine.
During the brick-making machine handover, Katlego Bricks and Modipane residents were also equipped with highly advanced brickmaking skills by PPC Botswana experts. Through this highly advanced mentorship, the trainees are also expected to start producing high-quality and competitive bricks.
“We have brought highly skilled experts that will be drilling you with the latest skills of molding bricks, these are experts that have worked on some of the best projects in Botswana. Remember PPC Botswana cement has also been used to build some of the iconic structures we have in Botswana such as the iTowers, Dikgatlhong dam, and the Obed Itani Chilume Stadium in Francistown. I am giving these examples to show that PPC Botswana does quality work and after this workshop, all the brickmakers involved will be producing high-quality work too,” Botlhole said.
Katlego bricks founder Patricia Katlego Mokgwa was in a jovial mood after receiving the brickmaking machine. She believes that the mentorship and machine will improve the business operations and will improve productivity in her business.
Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) through its Corporate Social Investment initiative has donated over Five Thousand Eight Hundred (5800) washable, reversible 3-ply face masks and related COVID-19 essentials to Motswakhumo Junior Secondary School in Lentsweletau, Kopong Junior Secondary School and Letsholo Primary schools in Kopong, in the Kweneng district. The respective schools received two (2) face masks for each pupil, teacher and the rest of the staff; 25 litres of sanitiser and dispensers, all at an estimated cost of One Hundred and Eighty Nine Thousand Pula (P189,000).
Ms Tsaone Ruth Thebe, BOCRA Board Chairperson, officiated at each of the handover sessions held at the respective schools. Representing the Mmopane/Lentsweletau Constituency Office was Mr Masego Thantshane, Administration officer. Mr Puso Gaotlhobogwe, District Commissioner (Molaodi) also graced the three occasions.
BOCRA recognises its role as a corporate citizen and believes that the COVID19 pandemic calls for responsive and relevant inputs to the immediate needs of the community.
In receiving the PPEs, school authorities expressed gratitude to BOCRA, noting the dire need for PPEs in their schools. They all echoed that the gesture would go a long way in filing the gaps.
For more information, please contact:
Mr Aaron Nyelesi
Director, Broadcasting and Corporate Communications