JHB traffic light vandalism costing hundreds of thousands of rands

The Johannesburg Roads Agency says at least 23 incidents are reported each month.

FILE: Sandton traffic. Picture: Christa van der Walt/EWN

JOHANNESBURG -The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) says vandalism of traffic lights is costing hundreds of thousands of rands with at least 23 incidents reported each month.

Eyewitness News has obtained exclusive footage of vandals targeting a major intersection in the South of Joburg that has been repeatedly targeted.

The CCTV footage clearly shows a band of men in the middle of the night digging up the cables on the corner of Nasrec and Rifle Range roads.

Watch: Cable thieves caught on camera

One man chops away with a pick axe while two others keep watch.

Each time a car passes they scramble in the bushes.

One can then see the men pulling the cable out of the ground.

The JRA's Darryl Thomas says cameras have been put up and a private security company hired.

"If someone taps that pole and starts cutting one needs to react straight right away. Otherwise it takes half an hour and they've got the signal pole on a bakkie."

But with these deterrents in place, vandals have still managed to bring down the signal light at the intersection one block away.

Meanwhile, officials in the City of Johannesburg have appealed to national government to get involved to solve the crippling problem of cable theft that's impacting traffic lights.

Thomas says vandalism is high level organised crime.

"This is professional business. They know what they're doing. I wouldn't be surprised if they have a boardroom somewhere with goals and targets to meet. Probably a director to report to, who knows?"

Councillor David Potter agrees that the problem is bigger than local officials can handle.

"There needs to be a provincial and national government interception with regards to this. It's not just the city's issue. It is national issue of cable theft."

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