A break-in and the theft of copper cable worth about R2 million at the City of Johannesburg’s data centre in Braamfontein on Saturday is intended to sabotage the initiative of building and securing the city’s data and infrastructure environment, mayor Herman Mashaba said.
The city was currently in the process of building its data centre and disaster recovery centre, he said.
“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 were assets that should be protected from vulnerability and from being illegally accessed. The city’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service (GFIS) were currently conducting investigations into contracts entered into 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. I believe that the break-in is intended to sabotage the initiative of building and securing our 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.
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, kept 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 the process of being tested. No damage 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.”
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 criminal involved in this attempt to “sabotage the city”. Historically, these criminals had operated with impunity and those days were fast coming to an end, Mashaba said.