The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport is very worried about the sharp rise in theft and damage to traffic lights in the province. They’re facing a big challenge in keeping these traffic signals safe from being stolen or broken. Just last year (2023), they had to deal with over R30 million worth of theft and damage, affecting more than 400 intersections.
To tackle this problem, in some places, the Department has changed traffic lights to four-way stops temporarily to improve safety. They’re also looking for better ways to maintain the traffic signals in the long run.
These criminal activities are causing big financial losses for the province. Fixing an intersection can cost between R900,000.00 and R1,500,000.00. Particularly, places like Hendrik Potgieter and Christiaan De Wet intersections are targeted repeatedly, costing over R500,000.00 each time they’re repaired. Besides the financial losses, these thefts and damages also disrupt traffic flow, leading to accidents and more expenses for the Department.
To fight against this, the Department is teaming up with others to raise awareness about the dangers of these illegal activities. They understand the impact and ask the public to be patient and cooperate as they work with the police to solve these problems. They also remind road users to treat non-working traffic lights as four-way stops and encourage everyone to report any vandalism they see.