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JRA launches new division to tackle traffic light vandalism, theft

The new infrastructure protection unit is tasked with protecting traffic signals and investigating theft.

FILE: The JRA forks out, on average, close to R18 million a year to fix damaged or stolen infrastructure. Picture: Siyabonga Sesant/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) says its new infrastructure protection unit has identified intersections prone to cable theft and vandalism, and officials will monitor them to ensure a quicker turnover time in solving technical issues.

The JRA and the Johannesburg Metro Police Department have launched the new division, which is specially tasked with protecting traffic signals and investigating theft.

The agency says the ultimate goal of the unit will be to reduce the amount of time motorists spend on the roads and increase productivity.

The JRA's Dr Sean Phillips says the new unit will have 18 officials solely tasked with investigating the theft of infrastructure.

"For example the theft of the copper cable, relating to the traffic lights, is one of the major causes of traffic light downtime in the City of Johannesburg."

The agency says it will finish installing its remote monitoring system by next month and this will track when a traffic light has stopped working and immediately notify officials.

Phillips says the agency forks out, on average, close to R18 million a year to fix damaged or stolen infrastructure.

Transport MMC Christine Walters says the theft of infrastructure has dire effects on the economy.

The agency says while the unit will collaborate with law enforcement authorities, the division also needs the community to report incidents of vandalism.