Tatane Project: Bridge opens new vista for villagers

2013-06-23 14:00

There is a new bridge over the Merekome River, and those who live in villages outside Tzaneen say it’s one of the most important things to have ever happened to them.

During the rainy season, says Samson Mathebula, the river would flood, making it impossible for buses and taxis to cross.

Residents couldn’t go to school or work, or they would have to use long, alternative routes and pay up to R100 for a single trip to Tzaneen.

The bridge is a welcome adjunct to the tarring of a 15km stretch of gravel road connecting the R529 to Tzaneen.

Residents of several villages – including Mawa Block 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, Dzumeri, Ga-Mokgwathi and Lekgwareng – will use Ramotshinyadi Road to access schools, workplaces in Tzaneen or citrus farms surrounding the town.

The upgrade, which is expected to cost about R52?million, is almost complete and the beneficiaries cannot stop singing the praises of Mayor Dikeledi Mmetle.

“You really have no idea what this road means to me,” said Ntebo Mokoro, who operates a taxi business in the area.

“Before this road was built, I had to replace my taxis every two years because of the gravel road. At the very least, a taxi should last for five years unless you are very careless with it. How do you replace a taxi after two years when it is financed for five years?”

The road is also a major coup for villagers, as Mopheme Rangongo explains: “Taxis and buses didn’t like the gravel road. They just came here because they were forced to.”

Previously, according to Rangongo, villagers had to wait up to two hours to catch a taxi or a bus to town.

But with the new road near completion, things are different. “There is a taxi here every 15 or 20 minutes,” says Rangongo.

As a result of the upgraded road, a private investor has been secured to build a shopping complex in Ramotshinyadi, which will serve the surrounding villages.

The new road is proof that the rehabilitation of rural roads brings with it many benefits for rural communities.

These include a dramatic reduction in the amount of time needed to access key public social services, businesses, and markets for subsistence farmers and other small business operators.

According to Mmetle, the complex will transform the villagers’ lives. “A single trip from Mawa to Tzaneen?.?.?.?co sts no less than R100,” he said.

“Now everything will be on their doorstep. Gogos can now use that R100 to buy meat for the kids at home.”

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