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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Criminals cause over R30m damages to traffic lights across Gauteng

The department said it has taken interim measures of converting signalised intersections into four-way stops to enhance safety.

The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport will have to spend millions of rands to repair traffic signals in the province.

The department said it is concerned by the the alarming surge in vandalism and theft targeting traffic signals within the province.

In a statement, the department said it is faced with an enormous battle of maintaining and protecting the province’s road traffic signals from the rampant theft and vandalism.

“This battle has jumped to over R30 million in the past year (2023) alone, with over 400 of signalised traffic intersections having been vandalised in certain areas.”

Interim measures

The department said it has taken interim measures of converting signalised intersections into four-way stops to enhance safety while actively seeking alternative and sustainable methods for maintaining traffic signals.

“[These] criminal activities… are inflicting economic losses on the province, with replacement and repair costs reaching millions. Rebuilding an intersection, on average, can range between R900,000 and R1,5 million.

“Notably, high-profile intersections such as Hendrik Potgieter and Christiaan De Wet are repeatedly vandalised shortly after repairs, incurring costs exceeding R500,000 per repair. These acts of vandalism and theft do not only disrupt the functioning of essential traffic signal services but also pose a threat to public safety,” the department said.

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The department added that the acts of theft and vandalism contribute to increased downtime for traffic signals, resulting in an unfavourable user experience, road crashes, and substantial costs for rebuilding and replacing stolen equipment.

“As part of its strategy to combat theft and vandalism, the department is actively engaging in partnerships to create awareness of the hazards associated with these persistent unlawful activities.”

The department has urged the public to exercise caution and understanding as collaborative efforts with law enforcement agencies are underway to address the issue.

“Road users should adhere to treating non-functional traffic signals as four-way stops,” it said.

ALSO READ: Joburg tackles traffic woes: 200 pointsmen deployed to navigate traffic light malfunctions

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