Bad news for Pretoria motorists who are stuck in traffic because of busted robots: Lately there has been an increase in faulty traffic light reports on Mobilitate.
Ward councillors have also picked up on a number of complaints about non-functional traffic lights.
According to DA spokesperson for transport in the City, councillor Justus De Goede, three types of theft are now rife in the city: robot SIM cards, solar batteries and cables.
This was established after an investigation by Cllr De Goede.
These cables are technically sophisticated and there is a country-wide shortage. The cables are imported and several municipalities are waiting for a delivery.
In addition, SIM cards are being stolen from control boxes, which are then left open to further vandalism and weather damage.
The solar batteries are also being stolen from those traffic lights fitted with them and are extremely expensive to replace.
“This is a huge blow for the City because of the massive traffic snarl-ups leading to huge losses in productivity but the City has in recent months made progress in its campaign against these criminals, including the arrests of middlemen who receive and dispose of stolen copper cables,” said Tshwane spokesperson Nomasonto Ndlovu in a statement.
Cable theft is not the only reason why traffic lights do not work.
“A number of lights are also knocked out of the ground by motorists each week and any compensation received from insurance or drivers does not go back to the relevant department, but to the general municipal account, so that infrastructural repairs to lights are permanently underfunded,” said Cllr De Goede.
Cllr Peter Sutton from ward 78 also released a statement this week about cable theft in the Hennopspark, Zwartkop and Highveld areas.
“Three weeks ago, criminals stole cables in Zwartkop, Centurion which left the traffic lights on the corner of Lenchen Drive and Old Johannesburg Road out of order. The matter was reported to Tshwane and I was informed in writing that there was a national shortage of cables and therefore, the traffic light would not be repaired immediately,” Cllr Sutton said in his statement.
Cllr Sutton said it was because of the on-going theft that the City of Tshwane now had a cable shortage.
“We had four cable theft incidents in ward 78 over the past month. What concerns me is that the municipality is doing very little to address the theft of cables.
“Apart from a specialised investigation unit contracted by Tshwane to investigate cable theft, very little effort is made in addressing the issue of the black market that has been created for stolen cables. The market of stolen cables is one that seriously needs attention,” Cllr Sutton said.
Cllr De Goede said the officials in charge were very approachable and they were doing the best they could under circumstances.
In ward 65 the traffic lights at the busy intersection on the corner of John Vorster and Nellmapius Roads were out of order for more than two weeks.
According to the Tshwane metro the following intersections were also affected because of cable theft:
• Route K109/Nellmapius Street
• Brakfontein Road/Olievenhoutbosch Street
• Brakfontein Road/Truck access to Checkers
• Ruimte Road/R55 route
Report faulty traffic lights on Mobilitate.
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