Thieves steal copper cables worth R2m from city’s IT nerve centre

Herman Mashaba. Photo: Arnold Pronto
Herman Mashaba. Photo: Arnold Pronto

Thieves broke into City of Johannesburg’s data centre in Braamfontein on Saturday and made off with copper cables estimated to be worth about R2-million.

The City is currently in the process of building its data centre and disaster recovery centre.

City of Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba believes that the break-in was intended to sabotage the initiative of building and securing the city’s own data and infrastructure environment.

“Fortunately‚ the criminals were not able to access our partially completed live nerve centre‚ where we are housing our data infrastructure‚” Mashaba said.

He said it was alleged that the criminals struck in the early hours of Saturday morning and gained access through an emergency exit door on the ground floor of the building.

“After gaining access‚ the criminals broke down a door leading to a storeroom where contractors‚ who were doing maintenance work‚ keep their tools. They then took grinding machines and extension cords‚ which they used to cut the cables.”

The stolen cables were connected to two power generators which were recently purchased and were in a process of being tested. No damages or power outages were experienced.

“We suspect that this was an inside job‚ judging from the way that the criminals gained access to the building. There are no signs of forced entry from the door they used‚” Mashaba said.

He added that the city was offering a reward of R100‚000 to any resident who could provide information that would lead to the arrest and successful prosecution of the criminals involved in this attempt to sabotage the city.

“Historically‚ these criminals have operated with impunity‚ and those days are fast coming to an end‚” Mashaba said.

He added: “We are investing in the protection of our citizen’s information‚ while ensuring that we build capacity internally with the aim of hosting our data infrastructure while minimising our dependency on suppliers to host our infrastructure.

“Information and data are assets that should be protected from vulnerability and from being illegally accessed.”

Mashaba said the city’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service (GFIS) was currently conducting investigations into contracts entered with ICT suppliers.

“I want to eliminate corrupt elements throughout the City including investigating illicit deals and contracts that were secured by the previous administration; this includes our technology space‚” he said.


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