While driving on Pietermaritzburg roads, many motorists have noticed that several traffic lights have been turned to face the wrong direction.
This has caused confusion for drivers, who have to try to figure out if it’s their right of way or not.
Examples of these lights can be found on Dr Chota Mothala Road, Edendale Road and Alexandra Road.
There have been a series of crashes at intersections where the lights seem to have been turned.
Several people have accused towing companies of turning the traffic lights in order to cause accidents, and thereby get more business.
This theory was also voiced by some local towing companies who said they also had their suspicions about this.
An owner of a local tow-truck company in Pietermaritzburg said there is a lot of corruption in the towing business and he has his suspicions about towing companies turning the lights for their gain.
I always warn my guys against doing this by reminding them that their family members could be involved in accidents because of the lights they’ve turned.
There are a number of towing companies in the city that would do anything for business.
He added that besides turning the lights, there is other corruption happening within the business.
Our country is full of corruption and we can’t operate our business properly.
Even the control room is full of corruption because they phone their friends who own towing companies before they even tell the police. They give them 15 minutes before they call an ambulance and the police.
A Bolt driver, who asked not to be named, said he has also noticed that several lights in town have been turned.
At most of these robots, you find unmarked tow trucks nearby. I’ve noticed this a number of times and wondered if these robots were not turned by them so there will be accidents and business for them.
Another local driver, who asked not to be named, said she had noticed the misaligned lights and said it is confusing for drivers.
These robots are very dangerous and they might cause accidents. At the one on the main road in Imbali, there have been several accidents. I am not sure who twisted them but usually they are twisted where there is a high volume of traffic.
There are also tow-truck companies that are usually in the vicinity. I’m not sure if they are involved in the twisting of these robots because they want business which is very selfish of them because they are gambling with people’s lives.
She added that people have lost their cars because of accidents possibly caused by the turned lights, while some people have lost their lives.
Meanwhile, Colin David of Mi7 national security group said that he is yet to come across any turned traffic lights and he has not received any reports from his team members about such.
We’ve only come across lights that have malfunctioned or don’t work, so to say that the skew lights are a cause of accidents is a bit too much.
I mean, if you look at any intersection, there is more than one light on each corner directing drivers, and drivers can make use of any other lights they see if one is not straight.
He said if a driver can’t see that, then it means that they aren’t attentive and shouldn’t be on the road.
Municipality aware that traffic lights facing the wrong direction
Msunduzi municipality spokesperson Ntobeko Mkhize said the municipality is aware that some traffic lights are facing the wrong direction.
The municipality has attended to incidents where the traffic signal lights were facing the wrong direction which is something that could cause confusion to motorists and even serious accidents with loss of life. This happens mostly in the CBD and busy intersections.
The transportation unit, upon receiving reports, will then attend to re-aligning the signals accordingly.
She urged road users to report any defective traffic signals to the call centre so they can be attended to as promptly as possible.
Motorists are also reminded to always treat faulty intersections as four-way stops.