According to the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) people will be able to report faulty traffic lights, potholes and missing manhole covers on the “FindnFix” app from Wednesday.
Manhole thefts increasing
Bertha Scheepers, JRA marketing and communications officer, said there had been a marked increased in levels of theft and vandalism of metal materials like steel grids, kerb inlets and manhole covers.
“Products are prevalent as there is a market for stolen metals, which are unrecoverable and untraceable once melted down,” she said.
A few weeks ago, over 40 manhole covers with a value of R60 000 were found in Fordsburg.
Scheepers said replacing the manhole covers and other metal materials was costly and recovery, “is unlikely and rare,” especially because once melted the metals are sold overseas. Along with this open manholes pose a substantial threat and danger to motor vehicle road users and pedestrians.
In an effort to curb the thefts, JRA is investigating, “alternative, innovative low-value material for manhole covers,” said Scheepers. These alternatives will be tested out in pilot areas which are also high risk areas such as motorways and Johannesburg’s inner city.
Some of the alternatives the city and JRA are looking at include the introduction of alternative materials, like plastic, to replace everything from hand railings to grids and manhole covers.
“Various companies participated in a pilot project for their product to be tested. All these companies are manufacturing different types of alternative products,” said Scheepers. A consultant has been appointed to draft specifications on the alternate materials.