Government will soon handover the Nkosi Dalibhunga Mandela Legacy Bridge constructed at former President Nelson Mandela’s birthplace, Mvezo village, in the Eastern Cape.
“We will soon hand over a 141m long bridge over the Mbhashe River, which is dedicated to the world’s greatest bridge-builder,” said Rural Development and Land Reform Minister, Gugile Nkwinti, when tabling his budget vote to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday.
The minister said construction had been completed, together with a 10-kilometre block-paved road, which links it with the busy N2 highway.
“I believe even our great former President himself would be pleased. As a direct result of this project, youth in the two villages of Mvezo and Ludondolo have been trained in manufacturing bricks and paving.
“They will now pave the inter- and intra-village roads, thereby improving roads and communities’ access to services such as economic hubs, clinics and schools,” he said.
The bridge was not the only thing that would be of benefit to the rural communities. Nkwinti said ICT facilities were being rolled-out at schools.
An example of this was the Cofimvaba e-Textbook Programme, which involved the roll-out of the required IT backbone infrastructure to a 26-school education circuit, and the provision of a tablet device to every pupil and teacher.
Nkwinti said this was done in partnership with the Department of Science and Technology.
Developing rural areas
The minister said the upliftment of rural communities would be spread beyond school gates, given that the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme (CRDP) was gaining momentum and its effectiveness was improving.
The CRDP is being rolled out in three phases, which is being done simultaneously.
The first phase is meeting basic human needs, including food security. The second phase focuses on rural enterprise development, while the third phase focuses on rural industries supported by local markets, credit facilities and infrastructure.
“After four years of hard work and an investment of almost R2.2 billion, all indications are that a winning formula is evolving in terms of the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme,” Nkwinti said.
He cited the example of Limpopo, where his department has invested in infrastructure in the form of housing, pack sheds, boreholes and support to co-operatives.
“In Masia, we are investing in a multi-purpose facility, including ICT, an administration block, cultural and sports facilities [including] an amphitheatre and library, in conjunction with the Department of Arts and Culture.”
The minister said in Muyexe, the department has constructed housing and other infrastructure. Fifty youths from Gonono, Dingamanze and Thomo have been trained in road construction and will soon undertake road paving projects.
He also announced that plans for an amphitheatre in Thomo were complete and construction would begin soon.