Traffic light battery theft costs Cape Town more than R6 million

The City of Cape Town has had to pay nearly R6.6 million for the replacement and installation of stolen UPS batteries and units at traffic lights.

These UPS batteries and units are necessary to keep Cape Town’s roads running smoothly during load-shedding, said the City of Cape Town in a statement.

“Sadly, vandalism and theft of these expensive and essential batteries and units is a challenge across the city and not only costs the City millions of rands to replace but affects motorists’ travel time drastically during load-shedding when traffic signals are not able to operate,” said the City of Cape Town.

It said that during the lockdown period alone, 152 incidents have occurred at traffic signal infrastructure in the city, with 73% of incidents being theft and the remaining 27% being acts of vandalism.

These incidents have amounted to over R3.2 million, and 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,” said Mayoral Committee Member for Transport Alderman Felicity Purchase.

“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,” Purchase said.

Purchase added that it is important that the public alerts the city to any acts of vandalism and theft they witness at traffic intersections.

“We need to curb these incidents and ensure that those at fault face the consequences.”

Now read: The safest cars under R200,000 in South Africa

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Traffic light battery theft costs Cape Town more than R6 million