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Zweli Nyathi, Acting CEO of JRA and Sitho Mdlalose, CEO of Vodacom SA.

People 'n' Issues

Vodacom promises to fix traffic lights

The mobile operator is partnering with the Johannesburg Roads Agency to keep traffic lights working during load shedding.

Vodacom South Africa is to partner with the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) to ensure that traffic signals along major intersections operate during load shedding. 

The partnership is spearheaded by the JRA and facilitated through a Service Level Agreement (SLA), to leverage electricity sourced from Vodacom’s adjacent buildings to power traffic lights. Through an initial phase of the partnership, Vodacom will provide backup power to the traffic lights at intersections near the Vodacom campus in Midrand, on 13th Road, Vodacom Boulevard, and Lever Road.

Sitho Mdlalose, CEO of Vodacom SA, says the partnership emphasises the importance of business and government working together to tackle societal challenges. 

“Motorists in the area can spend an unnecessarily extended amount of time stuck in traffic because of non-functioning traffic lights. And when people are running late, this hinders their productivity, which, in turn negatively affects our economy. Through this partnership, we hope to drive efficiency on our roads and ensure the safety of our community.”

Class 3 arterial roads like Lever Road perform an important network function as they provide connections between the various suburban areas located within Midrand and act as important collectors delivering traffic to the major class 2 arterials, such as New Road and the N1 freeway, says JRA Acting CEO Zweli Nyathi. 

“This partnership with Vodacom … will help ease loadshedding traffic congestion along surrounding routes and bring relief to road users of between 2,000 and 3,000 vehicles travelling in both directions on Lever Road during morning and afternoon peak hour.”

From a technical perspective, the partnership involves a JRA redesign of the signal wiring at the intersections in question. This will ensure that electricity from the Vodacom campus kicks in when load shedding occurs. The JRA will handle all the infrastructure works outside of the Vodacom campus boundaries, while Vodacom will manage any necessary infrastructure changes within the campus boundaries.

Mdlalose says: “As part of our journey to connect people for a better future, we are always exploring ways in which we can work with government to address the many socio-economic ills that face our country. Our participation in this Traffic Signal Backup Power initiative with the JRA aligns with our purpose-led strategy. We are also engaged in discussions with Eskom to explore how we can on-board more IPPs on the grid through a virtual wheeling platform.”

The JRA says it is inundated with requests from corporates, schools and NGOs across Johannesburg willing to partner with the entity in keeping the City’s traffic lights on and keeping traffic flowing during loadshedding. So far, 39 other Service Level Agreements are in progress.  

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