Gauteng sees surge in acts of vandalism targeting traffic signals

The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport has appealed to members of the public to report acts of vandalism following a surge in vandalism and theft targeting traffic signals within the province. 'The department 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,' the department said on Monday. In certain areas, the department said it had 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 500 000. '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. These incidents contribute to increased downtime for traffic signals, resulting in an unfavourable user experience, road crashes, and substantial costs for the department in 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 acknowledges the impact of these incidents and urges the public to exercise caution and understanding, as collaborative efforts with law enforcement agencies are underway to address these issues. Road users should adhere to treating non-functional traffic signals as four-way stops. Source: South African Government News Agency