Bridges link Ekhamanzi community to schools, clinics


Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) Minister Patricia de Lille and KwaZulu-Natal Transport MEC Kwazi Mshengu are set to unveil three bridges in Ekhamanzi, in the uMshwathi Local Municipality.

The recently completed bridges will significantly improve the community’s access to social amenities, including schools and clinics.

The unveiling is scheduled for Thursday, 11 March 2021.

The Welisizwe Rural Bridges Programme was gazetted as a Strategic Integrated Project in July 2020 as part of government’s Infrastructure Investment Plan, approved by Cabinet in May 2020.

The programme is aimed at providing safe access to social amenities and respond to potential disaster areas and emergency disaster situations.

The intervention is done through the construction of modular steel bridges.

The Departments of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and Defence and Military Veterans entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to implement the Welisizwe Programme in South Africa.

Subsequently, the DPWI and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport entered into an MOA to implement the Welisizwe Programme within the province.

KwaZulu-Natal was identified as a key area for this intervention following severe thunderstorms, which put both human life and property in danger.

DPWI and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) undertook technical assessments in the identified potential disaster sites in KwaZulu-Natal, and the provincial Transport Department committed funds for the installation of 14 bridges in the province.

Two teams from the SANDF were deployed in 2020 with DPWI to assist in a coordinating role to install the bridges in Ekhamanzi and other areas within the province.

Since April 2020, eight of the 14 bridges have been completed in the province.

De Lille and Mshengu will be joined by DPWI Deputy Minister Noxolo Kiviet, and other local leaders during an event to take place in Ekhamanzi.