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Special unit to clamp down on vandals in JHB

The JRA is spending millions to replace traffic light cables stolen by vandals.

FILE. The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) is spending millions to replace stolen cables. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A special unit has been set up to clamp down on thieves and vandals targeting traffic lights in the city, contributing to massive traffic delays.

The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) is spending millions to replace stolen cables.

It says more than R12 million worth of equipment has been taken over the past three years.

The agency also says it has had 341 reported cases of cable theft since July last year with a further 420 reported cases the year before, with no convictions.

The JRA says it's turning to stronger methods to apprehend the criminals.

Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) spokesperson Edna Mamonyane says vandalising or theft at traffic lights is a Schedule 5 offence and vandals who are caught will do time behind bars.

"It's not only affecting the JRA as a department, it's affecting each and every one of us."

Mamonyane says a new unit dedicated specifically to working with the JRA will be launched soon as thieves and vandals are bringing traffic to a standstill, costing the city time and money.

But the JRA says it's had to change at least 30 intersections that are repeatedly hit, to four-way stops because it is unsustainable to keep repairing cables.