Property Flash


May 3 2023

One of SA’s stalwart financial services giants, Investec announced Wednesday that it is partnering with the Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) to help to ensure that key traffic lights are operational during loadshedding.

From left to right: Daniel Nyamazane – JRA Board member, Stuart Spencer – Investec Group Chief Operating Officer, Elaine Jack – District Improvement Manager of Sandton Central Management District, Councillor Kenny Kunene, Charles Cilliers – JRA newly appointed board chairman and Louis Nel  – Acting CEO of Johannesburg Roads Agency.

In terms of the new initiative, traffic lights at major intersections including those in Sandton Central and possibly Fourways will be operational throughout loadshedding, by using generator power sourced from adjacent building owners. The first property owner participating in the Traffic Signal Secondary Power Initiative is Investec. The group bought its Sandton head office back from the largest real estate business in SA, Growthpoint Properties back in 2018 for R2.2bn. It was a surprise move for some but Investec wanted to revamp its building.

The office, which lies in the heart of SA’s richest business district, stands out among other corporate headquarters.

Investec has eight generators. Its generators will power the intersections at Grayston Drive and Rivonia Road, and Grayston Drive and West Road South. Roadworks to connect these two busy intersections are underway. 

The Traffic Signal Secondary Power Initiative entails a redesign of the signal wiring to allow for a secondary power connection to the nearest adjacent property, which will be undertaken by the JRA. Participating property owners will then facilitate the necessary connection to their own backup power system, whether solar, generator or UPS, so that traffic lights can function when loadshedding kicks in.

Founded by property owners, the Sandton Central Management District manages the public space bound by Sandton Drive, Katherine Street into Wierda Road East and West, West Street, along Rivonia Road and including Grayston Drive.

The JRA is responsible for redesigning the signal wiring to allow for a secondary power connection to the nearest adjacent property.

The JRA said powering traffic lights at intersections required 300W-550W of power.

Investec sees the JRA programme as a corporate social responsibility initiative.

The financial services group is serious about ensuring there is always electricity available. It has spent about R23m on diesel in its 2023 financial year.

In 2020 the City of Joburg changed the traffic lights to light emitting diodes (LEDs), which use very little electricity and are more efficient than incandescent light bulbs.

The city is open to any ideas to ensure electricity said Sipho Nhlapo, acting HOD for mobility and freight at the JRA.

Interested businesses in Sandton for the Traffic Signal Secondary Power Initiative include Blue Label Telecoms, Gold Fields and Nedbank.

There are around 2020 intersections in the city that need to function during load-shedding.

Elaine Jack, District Improvement Manager of Sandton Central Management District said: “Our work on this project will give some much-needed relief to motorists and ensure Sandton’s roads are safer for everyone. The initiative is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when key stakeholders join forces to tackle the city’s most pressing issues, and we feel privileged that our contribution will make a positive difference for Sandton’s road users.”

Acting CEO of the JRA, Louis Nel, said the agency was delighted to partner with Investec in keeping the traffic signals on at one of Sandton’s busiest intersections during loadshedding.

“The JRA continues to find innovative ways to ensure we deliver on our promise to provide Smart Mobility and safer roads to the residents of Johannesburg,” he said.

JRA chairman Charles Cilliers said he agency was encouraged by the number of businesses that were “joining hands with the JRA to improve the city’s traffic mobility during loadshedding”.

Investec Group Chief Operating Officer, Stuart Spencer said Investec was constantly striving to have a lasting positive impact on the communities where it operated.

“We are therefore very pleased to participate in the Traffic Signal Secondary Power Initiative. Going forward, during loadshedding, Investec’s generators will power two critical intersections in Sandton, ensuring continuous operation of the traffic lights and alleviating congestion. We are proud to be the first property owner in Sandton Central to participate in this initiative and hope many others will get involved,” he said.

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