As if load shedding wasn’t causing enough havoc to the smooth flow of traffic in Gauteng via congestion caused by out of order robots, the problem is added to via an alarming surge in vandalism and theft targeted at traffic signals within the province.
The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport is faced with an enormous battle of maintaining and protecting the province’s road traffic signals from the rampant theft and vandalism that is occurring. According to the Department, the costs of this battle jumped to over R30-million in 2023 with over 400 signalised traffic intersections having been vandalised.
In certain areas, the Department has taken the interim measure of converting signalised intersections into four-way stops to enhance safety while actively seeking alternative and sustainable methods for maintaining traffic signals.
The criminal activities surrounding these incidents 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. 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 not only disrupt the functioning of essential traffic signal services but also pose a threat to public safety with numerous road crashes having been recorded.
As part of its strategy to combat this problem, the Department is actively engaging in partnerships to create awareness of the hazards associated with these persistent unlawful activities. In line with this, the Department has appealed to members of the public to assist by promptly reporting acts of vandalism as collaborative efforts with law enforcement agencies are underway to address these issues.