MTN’s plan to power South Africa’s traffic lights with towers hit by delays

MTN South Africa says its initiative to use backup power from its towers to power traffic lights in Soweto was delayed due to theft and vandalism.

The network operator says it is still completing the project in Soweto, but it plans to expand the initiative to other areas across South Africa.

“MTN is in the process of completing the Soweto traffic lights initiatives, which was initially delayed due to issues relating to theft and vandalism,” said MTN SA.

“The initiative will see MTN supplying backup power to traffic lights close to its base stations to help alleviate congestion during load-shedding.”

“MTN is in the process of expanding this initiative to other areas across the country,” it added.

The company said it was also creating a traffic corridor from Roodepoort’s Flora Clinic to ease congestion on and off the highway from 14th Avenue — where MTN’s head office is located.

Electricity supplied by the MTN campus will back up traffic lights along the route. The company says both projects will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2024.

MTN announced that it had entered a public-private partnership with the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) to tackle load-shedding traffic in Soweto in July 2023.

The two parties signed a Service Level Agreement, with MTN providing backup power to all traffic lights near MTN base stations in the area.

MTN said the initiative aims to significantly reduce the delays and frustrations experienced by commuters and Sowetor residents, adding that it will be particularly helpful in traffic corridors leading to highways.

“The JRA must be commended for their commitment in ensuring swift progress in implementing this project,” MTN South Africa CEO Charles Molapisi said at the time.

“This is an excellent example of what can be achieved when the private and public sectors work together to positively impact the lives of citizens.”

Acting CEO at the JRA, Zweli Nyati, said the agency was being proactive in taking steps to alleviate the impact of load-shedding by partnering with MTN on the initiative.

“To ensure efficient traffic flow at peak times, we need smooth-flowing traffic corridors that lead traffic onto highways, keeping people moving to their destinations with ease and efficiency,” he said.

“By ensuring a stable power supply to traffic lights, we aim to enhance road safety, minimise congestion, and create a more seamless driving and transportation experience for all road users.”

At the time, Molapisi alluded to MTN’s plans to expand the project to create corridors of free-flowing traffic during load-shedding nationwide.

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MTN’s plan to power South Africa’s traffic lights with towers hit by delays