The theft of communication units within traffic light controller boxes has forced the City of Tshwane to fork out more than R1 million to replace these units.
It seems criminals are causing havoc with the city’s traffic infrastructure.
Mobilitate recently reported that the theft of traffic light cables was also a huge concern to the city and various key intersections in Centurion were left dysfunctional after criminals helped themselves to these technically sophisticated cables.
This latest revelation comes after Mobilitate reported a traffic light to the City of Tshwane that was out of sync.
The city replied that due to vandalism they were unable to attend to sync complaints.
It then came to light that controller boxes all over the city were vandalised to such an extent that the Tshwane metro could not keep up with the replacement of the communication units within the boxes.
The unit, which contains a SIM card and a modem, is responsible for the communication to the controller box. With the unit missing engineers are unable to communicate to the controller box which means they are unable to synchronise the controllers.
In essence, engineers are able to keep an intersection running where the communication unit has been stolen but not the sync.
The box is kept away from the pole but still close to the intersection.
According to the city’s spokesperson, Nomasonto Ndlovu, 220 controller boxes have been vandalized and some of them are reoccurring.
“The modem card (GCCIU type) costs R4590 ex VAT, while the average cost to repair a damaged controller box amounts to R3300 (including lock replacement),” said Ndlovu.
Renewed theft started at the end of May and currently 180 SIM card and modems have been stolen.
Mobilitate has learned that 40 of these controller boxes were vandalized the past weekend. The whole of Pretoria North, the CBD and Voortrekker Road were affected.
There are serious concerns for when the rain season starts.
“We are going to lose complete controllers because when the door is broken open the electronics are exposed to the elements,” said a Tshwane official.
Ndlovu said all efforts were made to secure the boxes before the rainy season to prevent further damage to the equipment.
According to Ndlovu the Roads and Stormwater division is exploring newer methods to secure the controller boxes.
“Once proven, functional repairs will continue,” she said.
Criminals are being tracked with the assistance of the City of Tshwane Metro Police and the South African Police Service (SAPS) and three people have already been apprehended and are in police custody.
Are you aware of dysfunctional traffic lights in your area? Report them on Mobilitate.
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