MMC for Transport councillor Funzela Ngobeni’s office recently embarked on an oversight visit to a Joburg Roads Agency (JRA) repair assignment of at least two of the 120 traffic signals that were damaged between December 2021 and January this year.
In December, 93 traffic signals were damaged either as a result of cable theft or after being driven into by motorists. That number dropped to 27 in January.
Ngobeni said repairing these traffic signals will cost the City R37-million.
“Depending on the size of the intersection, it costs between R300 000 and R400 000 to repair a traffic signal after it has been damaged. More often than not, the JRA has to undertake a complete rebuild of an affected signal.
“This is because traffic signals are completely uprooted or, in some cases, cut off at the bottom using an angle-grinder or any other destructive tool to access copper cables, uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units and sim cards, among others.
“The sim cards installed in the traffic signals use GPS technology to communicate information to the JRA, allowing the roads agency to keep track of its signals and perform the required maintenance during downtime.
“In addition to the cost of repairs, the city incurs a heavier financial burden related to increased insurance premiums. This means the city’s roads agency has less money to undertake crucial maintenance work.
“Armed with this information, I then convened an urgent meeting on February 2 with the JRA CEO, Selemo Republic Monakedi, and senior JRA officials to determine what immediate remedies the agency would implement to curb the nonchalant destruction and vandalism of the city’s infrastructure.
“The JRA CEO undertook to push for a board resolution to resuscitate the agency’s Infrastructure Protection Unit and to adequately capacitate it, if so deemed.
Feedback on this matter will be provided to me in our bi-weekly meeting with the roads agency. In the meantime, I call on law enforcement to step up efforts to monitor the city’s valuable infrastructure as well as to properly investigate and prosecute people arrested for the destruction of the city’s assets.
“Without this stringent action, our efforts will be futile as we would continue to watch our City descend into further lawlessness. We will not let this happen,” explained Ngobeni.
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