The N1/Elim intersection is especially dangerous at night when the floodlights are not working. Photo: Elardus van Zyl.

While SANRAL and municipality quibble, darkness at traffic circle prevails


Floodlights at dangerous intersections on the N1 that are not working remain a threat to the safety of commuters, but finding out who is responsible for keeping the lights burning at night is not that easy.

The responsibility to maintain the country’s national roads lies with the South African National Road Agency Limited (SANRAL). In theory, SANRAL should also ensure proper visibility at intersections such as the N1/Elim crossing. However, SANRAL relies on the Makhado Municipality to provide certain services.

In the past month, several readers contacted this newspaper and complained about the lack of proper lighting at the intersections where the N1 passes through Louis Trichardt. One lady, who regularly passes the Elim circle, complained that the floodlights have not been working for some time now, making this intersection extremely dangerous at night.

SANRAL’s operations and maintenance manager responsible for the Vhembe area, Mr Madoda Mthembu, responded to questions and said that the lights were not working because of a technical problem. However, this problem falls under the purview of the Makhado Municipality, which must ensure the supply of electricity.

Mthembu urged motorists to be cautious as they approach the circle. “The provision of street lighting is an added safety measure to make it easier for motorists to navigate through the traffic circle at night. There are traffic signs that have been erected in the vicinity of the traffic circle to warn motorists about the presence of the traffic circle. Motorists should always abide by the traffic rules to avoid accidents, irrespective of the time of the day,” said Mthembu.

When approached for comment, Makhado Municipality said that a contractor had been appointed to fix all the streetlights in town. The municipality also absolved itself of blame should accidents occur at dangerous, unlit intersections. “The municipality will not be responsible for any accident because any accident is an unplanned event, and furthermore, streetlights do not prevent accidents,” said Makhado Municipality’s mayor, Dorcus Mboyi.


News in brief - Date: 13 April 2024

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Bernard Chiguvare

Bernard Chiguvare is a Zimbabwean-born journalist. He writes mainly for the online publication, Groundup.

Email: [email protected]