By Jonk Wa Mashamba
The JRA and the Province amicably agree to terminate the Traffic signal Maintenance and Repair Partnership.
This after the city of Johannesburg MMC for Transport, Cllr Funzi Ngobeni, decided to terminate the marriage recently.
“Following a period of protracted negotiations between the Joburg Roads Agency and the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport, myself and the MEC for Roads and Transport, Jacob Mamabolo, have agreed to end the working relationship,” said Ngobeni.
The relationship between the two provided the JRA with a mandate to design, install, repair and maintain traffic lights on behalf of the provincial department.
Ngobeni said they could not reach agreement to renew a Service Level Agreement that would have seen the agency continue to actively maintain and repair 231 signalised intersections on provincial roads across the City of Johannesburg.
An SLA was entered into between the JRA and the provincial department, with effect from 1 September 2017 but this agreement expired in August 2020.
Since then, numerous attempts have been made to renew the SLA but these have been unsuccessful.
At a meeting held between Ngobeni and Mamabolo in March, the latter indicated that the reason for not renewing the JRA SLA was due to the entity not having its tax affairs in order.
The tax dispute between JRA and SARS is going through a legal process, with the agency’s legal team having issued a notification to SARS of its intention to refer the matter to Tax Court.
In terms of the law, SARS has 45 days, which is until 30 May 2022, to issue a Record of Decision and after that JRA has 20 days to launch the application.
“Based on this development, JRA had a discussion with SARS officials and we were requested to do an online application for a Tax Clearance Certificate on Friday, 25 March 2022 and we are waiting for the outcome.
“Despite ongoing negotiations, JRA continued to repair and maintain the province’s traffic signals out of concern for motorists frustrated by continuous traffic jams on key intersections across the City, especially during peak hours,” said Ngobeni.
Ngobeni emphasized that it was crucial to note that JRA simply could not leave these intersections unmaintained while motorists, who are none the wiser about whether these were the responsibility of JRA or the provincial government, continued to experience daily frustrations.
“However, with the failure to come to an agreement on a new SLA, we came to a decision to terminate the working relationship between JRA and the provincial department.
“As such, a process is underway to hand over to the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport. A total number of 231 maintained intersections will be handed over as per the asset registry,” he said.
On the 31st of March 2022, a soft handover took place between JRA and GPDRT
The handover was and will continue to be in terms of the asset registry as well as keys to their controller boxes
Ngobeni said the physical sign over of the intersection design documents will take place next week and the municipal accounts will then be closed at JRA and GPDRT will have to open accounts with City Power and Eskom.
A technician will be made available to support GPDRT in terms of site and technical matters from the 1st of April to the 8th of April 2022
Effective 1 April 2022, JRA began attending only to the 1 992 signalised intersections under its jurisdiction while the provincial department will attend to queries related to its traffic signals (a list of affected provincial intersections is attached).
Motorists who wish to report vandalised, non-functioning or dysfunctional JRA traffic signals are advised to contact the following number: 0860 562 874 (0860 JOBURG) and select option 5.
“As the political principal tasked with oversight over roads and transport related matters in the City of Johannesburg, this decision has not been an easy one.
“But it is imperative that I am transparent with residents and other important stakeholders.
“It is my sincere hope that this decision, and the communication that accompanies it, contributes to the easing of frustrations endured by all stakeholders,” concluded Ngobeni.