Beginning of a new dawn for rural residents

2019-05-15 06:01
Cutting the ribbon in Msinga are (front, third from left) Chief Sithole, MEC Mxolisi Kaunda and Nondumiso Sikhosana (councillor), cutting the ribbon at Nhlesi River Bridge.

Cutting the ribbon in Msinga are (front, third from left) Chief Sithole, MEC Mxolisi Kaunda and Nondumiso Sikhosana (councillor), cutting the ribbon at Nhlesi River Bridge.

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CHILDREN drowning while trying to cross flooded rivers in Msinga will now be a thing of the past after two bridges were opened in Nhlesi and Mhlasini recently.

The construction of the two concrete bridges cost over R16 million and created jobs opportunities and enhance skills development within the local community.

Residents said several people, including pupils, had lost their lives while attempting to cross the Nhlesi River.

The Mhlasini River Bridge connects Nquthu and Msinga, and will make travelling to Msinga much easier. In the past, residents travelling to Msinga had to follow the Dundee route to get to Msinga.

MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Mxolisi Kaunda, together with Msinga Local Municipality executive member, ward councillor Nondumiso Sikhosana, Chief Sithole, Chief Ngubane and stakeholders, officially opened the Nhlesi and Mahlaba bridges. Thereafter, a community engagement was held, where Kaunda gave the keynote address.

Sikhosana said in the past, pupils going to the local schools were forced to take off their clothes before crossing the flooded Nhlesi River. “It was a challenge to the pupils who had to cross the river when going to school at Nhlesi. Sometimes the pupils would stay at home and not attend school when the river was flooded. The opening of the bridge will have a huge impact on the lives of Msinga residents,” he said.

Sikhosana confirmed that there have been several fatalities in the past in both rivers. He added: “The community should take care of the infrastructure. As leaders in the community we condemn acts of defacing infrastructure.

“In many cases you will find a bridge [after it has been opened] painted with graffiti and images that are unacceptable. We encourage our communities to take ownership of these bridges and refrain from vandalising them.”

The construction of the Nhlesi Bridge doubles as a pedestrian and single vehicle bridge in Mooi River in the area of Msinga.

Kaunda said: “This bridge will provide greater access to five primary schools and one high school, and the police, public transport and medical services will gain easier access to the area.

“The community had to travel a longer distance in the past but the bridge will make their lives much better.”

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