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Johannesburg - Copper thieves have stripped the country's coastal military nerve centre and destroyed equipment used to communicate with fleets, the Sunday Times reports.
Two large antenna farms at the Silvermine base outside Cape Town had been dismantled in a series of raids since February last year, the paper reported, quoting unnamed sources.
The base had been unable to communicate with the fleet since January and contact was being handled by a back-up base in Durban.
Defence department spokesman Brigadier-General Xolani Mabanga told the newspaper it could only respond in the coming week.
The newspaper said three independent sources, who could not be named because they were linked to the facility, had confirmed the thefts.
SA National Defence Force Union spokesman Pikkie Greeff said:
“Union members have confirmed it to me. There are no communications from the Silvermine facility. Durban relay station is being used in the interim. The main thing here is copper theft.”
According to the newspaper Silvermine was designed as a military nerve centre to transmit and receive radio signals. It also serves maritime patrol aircraft, foreign communication services, and helps with search and rescue operations. - Sapa