SANDF contributes to new bridges in KZN


Transport Deputy Minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga, has officially opened four bailey bridges in the Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality in KwaZulu-Natal, under a programme implemented by the national Department of Public Works and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

Chikunga said the bridges are a result of the partnership between national, provincial and local government.

“This is reflective of [effective] inter-governmental cooperative governance, which we aim to achieve through the District Development Model, announced and launched by President Ramaphosa,” Chikunga said.

Chikunga said the handing over of the bridges comes at a time when the transport sector is engaged with the October Transport Month (OTM) campaign activities.

“This particular campaign seeks to showcase to South Africans and the world the strides that have been achieved so far in the provision of safer, affordable, accessible and reliable transport services, systems as well as world-class infrastructure for the country across all modes of transport.”

The Department of Public Works has committed to build bailey bridges, which are intended to ensure safe access to social services including schools, clinics, police stations and the South African Social Security Agency.

“The construction of the bailey bridges, especially in inaccessible rural areas of Kwa-Zulu Natal province, is part of government’s bailey bridge intervention programme managed by the national Department of Public Works and the South African National Defence Force acting as the implementing agent of the programme,” Chikunga said.

During the construction phase, various types of jobs benefiting local labour, student and graduate engineers, and mentors appointed by the Department of Public Works benefited from the project both in terms of earning wages and skills transfers.

Chikunga used the platform to announce another project, the Welisizwe Rural Bridge Programme, which was gazetted by the Minister of Public Works on 24 July 2021.

The programme is in line with the Strategic Infrastructure Project (SIP 26) and will be funded through the Presidential Job Stimulus. It will be implemented jointly by the Departments of Transport and Public Works.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport and Community Safety and Liaison has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Public Works and SANDF to upscale the construction of bridges and improve mobility.

The SANDF, as the implementing agent of the programme, has completed several bridges in the province.

In the Ugu District Municipality, the construction of four bailey bridges has been completed, while 10 other bridges were constructed in other parts of the province, including uMzinyathi District Municipality and Pietermaritzburg.