He said this was a major problem during the winter period when many people living on the outskirts of Pretoria CBD were forced to walk to bus or train stations before sunrise.
On their way to public transport, commuters could be ambushed by criminals lurking in the dark, said Tau, adding the City of Tshwane was aware of the potential danger to people walking in darker streets.
In a bid to prevent criminal activities, the City would intensify the roll-out of an initiative called the Public Lighting Programme to repair defective high-mast and street lights.
Tau said the programme was one of the flagship projects adopted in line with the approach by executive mayor Stevens Mokgalapa to “go back to the basics”.
“We have gone through the audit of all high-mast lights in region one (which includes Soshanguve, Mabopane, Ga-Rankuwa and Winterveld) and we have a report to that effect.”
He said the audit was done with the intention to refurbish all the faulty lights.
Tau said: “The mayor has spoken about the safety of people and the need to make Tshwane safe. One of the things that we need to do as Utility Services is to make sure that there’s enough lighting, because during winter criminal activities are heightened.”
He said the municipality wanted to make sure there was enough illumination so that people could feel safer when they walked on the streets.
Better lighting, he said, would help people to spot criminals from a distance.
“It’s also happening in Mamelodi. We have done that in region three in the CBD.”
Tau said in the northern part, the fixing of street lights had started in Mabopane and Winterveld, where many people were forced to leave homes at the crack of dawn to catch early public transport to town.
“We’re systematically moving towards Soshanguve. Block VV is being flagged as the area in need and we will prioritise it.”
Tau also expressed concern about cable theft, blaming some operators of car wash businesses, who stole overhead street lights for installation at their facilities.