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Street lights a burning issue
Photo by Sven Scheuermeier on Unsplash

Burning street lights during daytime are a huge concern to Durbanville residents, especially in the light of the recent loadshedding.

Alan Bredenhand, a resident, said the street lights in Franc Street in Vierlanden had been burning day in and day out for eight weeks before it was finally fixed.

“The street lights in Tester Street in Vierlanden have been burning during daytime now for 11 weeks already. There are also certain parts in Murray Street where the street lights are burning every day,” he said.

According to Bredenhand he noted this only since lockdown was eased, as he did not leave his house during the first phases of lockdown.

“The City and Eskom ask our cooperation to save electricity, but then street lights are left on during the day,” he said.

“Were any cases of copper theft recorded in these streets in Vierlanden during the day? If so, we as the public would like to know so that we can be on the lookout for these thugs,” he said.

“The street lights are definitely not left on for maintenance purposes or to combat vandalism, as is always stated by the City,” he said.

Phindile Maxiti, Mayco member for energy and climate change, told TygerBurger a faulty photocell was replaced by a street light team in Vierlanden last Thursday (23 July), as a result of the enquiry.

“Groups of street lights are switched on in the evening and off in the morning by a photocell which is sensitive to light.

“When staff members do street light maintenance, they switch on a bypass switch so that the lights will stay on for maintenance purposes.

“Sometimes street lights are left on in an effort to curb vandalism. Vegetation can also obstruct sunlight, resulting in not enough light and the photocell not switching off the lights. The photocell itself can become faulty,” she said.

“The lights (in Vierlanden) will now switch on and off automatically. The City thanks TygerBurger and Mr Bredenkamp for bringing this to our attention,” she said.

According to her street lights are very efficient and of low energy consumption and the approximate cost to keep one light burning per day is about R0,98. The impact of the lights burning is not as big as it might seem,” she said.

“It’s important for residents to note that the City does have good reason to keep these lights burning.

“When it comes to theft and vandalism in particular, it’s important to keep in mind that the cost of keeping relatively small stretches of lights burning pales in comparison to the astronomical amounts associated with the replacement of the same length of stolen cable and vandalised equipment,” she said.

The City is spending millions of rand to repair and replace vital electricity infrastructure as a result of theft and vandalism, Maxiti said.

“Keeping street lights on has proved to be an effective deterrent as thieves rarely risk their lives by hacking into live wires,” she said.

The City’s Area East, which includes Vierlanden, spent R792 416,40 between July 2019 and May 2020 to replace and repair damaged and stolen electricity infrastructure, she said.

“Street lights are essential for public and traffic safety and crime prevention. Street lights are energy efficient and have a low impact on the electricity demand.

“Street lights should in general not be on during the day unless maintenance is in progress, the lights are tested or switched on due to vandalism.

“Street lights are connected at a low voltage system and will go off when load-shedding takes place and switch on automatically after load-shedding,” she said.

On a question that it seems the onus is always on residents to report burning street lights, she said it is an acknowledged principle to rely on customer reporting for street light repairs on domestic routes, while main routes are actively patrolled.

Report faulty street lights via email to FaultReporting.Centre@capetown.gov.za or phone 0860 103 089 or SMS 31220. Residents may also use the City’s e-services to log a fault. Customers will receive a notification number.

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