Four arrested for stealing drains and fences on highways, potentially putting road users in danger.
Teamwork and swift reaction between the Gauteng Traffic Management Centre (TMC) and law enforcement officials resulted in the arrests of four men caught in the act of stealing fixtures on two of the province’s highways.
The four, in two separate incidents, were captured on the cameras of the TMC, their actions endangering the lives of road users.
Two men in blue overalls were spotted on the R21 southbound after Griffiths Road stealing drain grids, leaving a huge unprotected hole on the side of the highway.
The TMC immediately notified the Ekurhuleni Metro Police and SANRAL’s On-Road Services. They responded immediately and caught the perpetrators in the act, stopping the theft.
In another occurrence, two men in a white bakkie stopped on the side of the N1 southbound after the Proefplaas Interchange. The camera showed them stealing a palisade fence, thus making it possible for pedestrians to walk across the highway, endangering their lives.
The TMC alerted the Tshwane Metro Police who chased the men. They eventually pulled them over at Rigel Avenue and arrested them.
These are but two of the high number of incidents, other than accidents, which occur along the highways in Gauteng. This can be seen from the fact that during the last financial year only about a quarter of all incidents were related to crashes.
Incidents cover a wide variety of occurrences on the roads, including stranded vehicles, attempted theft of SANRAL property, dangerous driving, illegal parking on the side of the road and others.
‘Critical success factor’
The integrated annual report of the roads agency describes the on-road service unit in Gauteng as “a critical success factor” – it comprises 10 incident response units, 10 light towing units, six heavy recovery units and 12 medical response units.
Close collaboration with the relevant metro police units of cities along the highways is vitally important.
“Road safety is important to SANRAL, as is the safety of motorists who may be stranded or need help. Rapid response is vital in all cases and the TMC is a vital cog,” said Vusi Mona, SANRAL’s General Manager: Communications