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City of Cape Town has spent over R6m to fix traffic signal battery theft

Cape Town – Over the last financial year, the City of Cape Town’s Transport directorate has spent approximately R6 571 000 on the replacement and new installation of stolen Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) batteries and units at traffic signalised intersections.

The City said these UPS batteries and units, which keep Cape Town’s intersections operational during load shedding, are now being targeted by syndicates.

Vandalism and theft of these expensive and essential batteries and units is a challenge across the city. The City said it not only costs them millions of rands to replace, but affects motorists’ travel time drastically during load shedding when traffic signals are not able to operate.

During the lockdown period, 152 incidents occurred at the traffic signal infrastructure across the city, 73% of these reported incidents were theft and 27% acts of vandalism.

The repairs to these incidents amount to over R3 200 000.

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Picture: City of Cape Town/Supplied

This particular vandalism and theft occurs right across the city. Some of the targeted areas include Philippi; Grassy Park; Strandfontein; Somerset West; Nyanga; Strand; Parklands; Mitchells Plain; Milnerton; Mannenberg; Bellville and the Cape Town CBD.

“We cannot afford to waste precious resources by having to replace these stolen batteries at our traffic signals. This vandalism and theft has a knock on effect on the public purse, which is unacceptable especially during a time when resources are stretched.

“I urge all residents to not only report these events, but to also report the selling of these batteries on the black market so that we can put an end to this sort of theft. This money should be spent on other projects to improve the lives of residents and not to replace what has been stolen,” said Mayco Member for Transport, Felicity Purchase.

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Picture: City of Cape Town/Supplied

“We need to curb these incidents and ensure that those at fault face the consequences. We however rely on the public to alert us to any acts of vandalism and theft witnessed at our traffic signals.”

The City of Cape Town said that the current branding on these batteries is Vision and Royal, and that perpetrators who are caught will be charged under the Criminal Matters Amendment Act.

Report damage and theft to traffic signal infrastructure to the Transport Information Centre (TIC) on 0800 65 64 63, the TIC is available 24/7.

Cape Argus

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