SOME 2 400 Telkom lines are out of commission in Richards Bay following a massive cable break on Thursday morning.
Most businesses have no landlines and among those seriously affected is the City of uMhlathuze Civic Centre building, where officials are unable to process any licensing transactions.
At a number of premises in the CBD, staff can be seen standing outside, unable to communicate with clients.
This after workers installing new lines cut through the main feeder cable from the Arboretum exchange, while working near the intersection of East Central Arterial and the R619 (North Central Arterial).
It is understood they believed the cables were buried two meters below the surface when in fact they had been raised to less than a metre at placed when the R619 was widened.
Also cut were fibre optic lines, which were temporarily restored by noon on Friday.
However, the copper cable requires total replacement over a section of close to 200 metres.
Cable is being trucked in from Johannesburg but even with two teams already working round the clock, the repair might only be completed by Wednesday next week – or longer if rain interrupts the process.
Municipal road engineering staff will have to dig through the tar and layerworks on the R619 to lay the new cable – a lengthy and costly process.
The repair bill is likely to reach well into the millions of Rands, excluding the loss of business to the private sector.
One of many who were severely hampered in servicing theirs clients Mark Stevens, Regional Manager of Leaf Technologies who went to the site of the cable break to check out the situation for himself.
‘The effect to business is significant as many have neither voice nor data lines, literally putting them in the dark, so to speak,’ said Stevens.