Load shedding snarls up Joburg and Pretoria traffic, rain adds to the pain

Load shedding implemented by Eskom as part of its power rationing programme resulted in traffic gridlock in Johannesburg and Pretoria on Tuesday morning.

"Load shedding had a negative impact on the traffic flow causing the traffic lights not to work," Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) Senior Superintendent Wayne Minnaar told News24.

INFO: Find your load shedding schedule

A similar situation was evident in the Pretoria CBD, where there was also load shedding.

"In the morning it started in CBD because the traffic lights were not working," Tshwane Metro Police Department spokesperson Isaac Mahamba told News24.

He added that the department had a strategy in place to deal with the congestion.

"Normally, in all the main roads we deploy our officers if the lights are not working. There were a few accidents that I know of."

The Mokgoro inquiry sitting in Centurion was delayed and Judge Fayeeza Kathree-Setiloane was also late for the hearing of the case of North West ANC chairperson Supra Mahumapelo in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria as a result of the traffic.

Minnaar said that the rainy weather in Johannesburg compounded the traffic snarl-ups and several officers were deployed to manage the traffic.

"Priority is given to the traffic and they [officers] work shifts. A lot of officers are deployed at intersections; they are taken off from specialised units," said Minnaar.

Heavy delays

Google Maps data showed that key routes in the city centre were experiencing heavy delays.

The Francios Oberholzer Freeway (M2) and De Villiers Motorway (M1) were backed up. Several inner city roads were also congested as commuters made their way into the city.

"Thunder showers cause traffic to drive slower in the rain; accidents increase in the rain," said Minnaar.

The JMPD is in contact with the City of Johannesburg's disaster management unit to help those who might require assistance.

In Pretoria, the rain was not as severe, leading to traffic flows returning to normal much quicker.

"We are in constant contact with disaster management in case something major happens. There were no areas that we know of where people needed help because the rain wasn't too bad today," said Mahamba.

Data from the South African Weather Service showed a 60% chance of rain in Johannesburg and Pretoria until Friday.

Social media users tweeted about the traffic situation as they experienced it.

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