Zuma visits Nelson Mandela bridge

2012-07-11 21:01
President Jacob Zuma is seen inspecting the Nelson Mandela Legacy Bridge project at Mvezo in the Eastern Cape. (GCIS)

President Jacob Zuma is seen inspecting the Nelson Mandela Legacy Bridge project at Mvezo in the Eastern Cape. (GCIS)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma visited the construction site of the Nelson Mandela Legacy Bridge near Mthatha in the Eastern Cape on Wednesday.

"The bridge was both a metaphor for and a tribute to [former president] Nelson Mandela, and his willingness to build bridges between people and between ideas, between young and old as well as between cultures," Zuma said, according to a statement issued by the presidency.

"It is, after all, only fitting that we should bring positive change to the Mvezo village - the birthplace of the man who changed the world for the better."

Once completed, the bridge would connect Ludondolo to Mvezo, on the other side of the Mbashe River. It would also be connected to a new 10km tar road linking Mvezo to the N2.

The presidency said this would reduce the distance between Mvezo and East London, Mthatha and Idutywa by more than 50km.

"Many visitors, both from our country and abroad, who wish to visit the birthplace of this world icon, will be able to do so by branching off from a national road and travelling a relatively short distance on a new road, thus turning Mvezo potentially into a major tourist attraction."

Construction on the bridge and road had already begun.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said 53% of the bridge had been constructed and it was scheduled for completion in January.

"There is also a little left to be done on the road," he said.

The Mvezo village would now act as a catalyst for economic activity and improved access to services including electricity, water, flush toilets, roads, entertainment, sport centres, shopping centres, schools, and agricultural production.

The R120m project would also provide work to more than 300 people.

"I have no doubt that the skills acquired during the bridge and road-building process will enable these workers to become more employable in the future, and to access jobs elsewhere even after the completion of the project," said Zuma.

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  jacob zuma  |  east london  |  transport

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