The City of Cape Town’s Urban Mobility Directorate and the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) have reached a Service Level Agreement (SLA) that allows the City to perform maintenance on traffic signals on the Sanral road network. As part of this agreement, Sanral provides the approval and funding for the necessary maintenance work.

Council has endorsed this temporary agreement for a period of 180 days, on an agency basis with the intention to conclude a long-term agreement during this time.

‘This is excellent and it shows our commitment and readiness to proactively assist on behalf of another organ of state to ensure that service delivery continues. This initiative will eliminate delays where the City and residents have to wait for Sanral to fix a traffic signal. It took some time to formulate the agreement as it was subjected to legal scrutiny from both parties and underwent a Council approval process. However, I am elated about the outcome. It means that our residents will no longer wait for months for signals to be repaired because the SLA will allow the City to get the job done and our traffic moving,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility, Councillor Rob Quintas.

It is important to understand that roadways making up the public road system in the Cape Town municipal area are owned by one of the three road authorities, namely the City of Cape Town, Western Cape Government (WCG) and Sanral. Thus, each authority is responsible for the maintenance of its roads and the associated roadside infrastructure, including traffic signals, and the costs.

The following roads fall under the jurisdiction of Sanral:

    The following roads fall under the jurisdiction of SANRAL:
  • R300 between the N2 (including the Swartklip Interchange) and N1 (including the Stellenberg Interchange)
  • N1 from the Old Oak Interchange northwards
  • N2 between the R300 and the R102 (Somerset West); and again east of the foot of Sir Lowry’s Pass Road
  • N7 from the Melkbostrand Interchange northwards

Despite the divided ownership of roads, the City and Sanral want to provide the road user with a seamless service under which all roads and signals are maintained and managed to a high standard.

While Sanral has a mature road construction and maintenance capability, it does not possess the staff, facilities or contractual mechanisms to provide immediate and continuous traffic signal maintenance. This has initiated the proposal that the City of Cape Town maintain Sanral signals on behalf of the agency.

The City of Cape Town has four traffic signal maintenance depots, as well as contractual agreements for the supply, installation, alteration and repair of traffic signals.

Signal faults are predominantly reported to the City’s Transport Information Centre from where they are dispatched to the Signal Operations unit of the Urban Mobility Directorate’s Transport Network Management section. The Signal Operations unit has the facilities to investigate signal faults using an established remote management system and report any hardware issues to the relevant maintenance depot.

Sanral does not have the network infrastructure or the workforce specifically dedicated to these functions and it has consequently agreed in principle to the City performing the maintenance function of their traffic signal infrastructure.

‘I am happy to say that as part of this agreement, our officials have already fixed the traffic signals at the interchange of Hindle Road and the R300 which have been out for months after they were damaged during protest action. The signal controller and connection pillars were burnt and signal heads and lanterns were vandalised. Underground cabling has also since been stolen.

‘The repair works required the installation of new signal heads, connection of underground cabling, new connection pillars and a new traffic controller. This signal was a huge frustration and safety hazard to our motorists and residents and we received many complaints about it, but we could not do anything about it as it was not part of our mandate. The signal is now fully operational.

‘I also want to appeal to our residents to please refrain from destroying infrastructure when exercising their right to protest. The damages are costly to both the City and residents. Every time a traffic signal is deliberately damaged, we have to use money that is allocated for other projects,’ said Councillor Quintas. Residents are encouraged to please report defective traffic signals to the Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63. This is a 24/7 information centre and is toll free from a landline or a cell phone.

Alternatively, residents can email Transport.Info@capetown.gov.za Residents are reminded to include their name, contact number and the exact location of the traffic signal as this will assist with our response time.