Footbridge for river where Angel drowned, but only next year

2016-03-20 12:30
Angel Sibanda, 6, was swept away by flash floods on her way back from school. (Supplied)

Angel Sibanda, 6, was swept away by flash floods on her way back from school. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg – A footbridge is to be built over the river where 6-year-old Angel Sibanda lost her life during flash floods last month - but not until next year, GroundUp reports.

Lobbyists from Amandla: Action for Mzanzi recently launched a petition to demand that a footbridge be installed at the Diepsloot site where Angel drowned.

Several children cross at the spot at least twice a day.

But according to Johannesburg Roads Agency (JRA) spokesperson, Bertha Peters-Scheepers, a bridge has already been planned. Environmental approval was granted in November last year but construction is only likely to be finished next year. A provisional budget of R11 million has been set aside.

Peters-Scheepers said the JRA had also begun to tar dirt roads and install closed storm water drainage in the area. There are several low-lying shacks in that part of Diepsloot and flooding is common.

Rubbish in drains and rivers

In the meantime, she said, part of the river – a tributary of the Jukskei – where Angel drowned would be enclosed. Children and others in the community would be instructed to use "an alternative, longer route back home from school and the community and school will be engaged on the best possible route to ensure their children’s safety".

Peters-Scheepers urged residents not to dump rubbish in rivers and drains because this caused a chain reaction during floods.

She said rubbish, from old mattresses to cooking oil, tended to end up in drains and rivers and this posed a serious hazard to the community.

"All the impact volumes of storm water run-offs are discharged into the channel, increasing the volumes of water towards the vlei. This is the area of crossing by the community and the school kids," she said.

Peters-Scheepers said littering in the township was a "behavioural issue" which would be addressed during community drives the JRA was planning.

The JRA would also embark on campaigns to educate residents about storm water drains and water safety, she said, adding that children and adults often underestimated the power of fast-flowing water.

(Benita Enoch, GroundUp)

Read more on:    johannesburg

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