The Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Thabang Makwetla, will this weekend commission Bailey bridges in Zimbabwe that the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) built after Cyclone Idai struck earlier this year.
Four bridges were under construction by the SANDF as part of the contribution by South Africa to its neighbours. The construction of two bridges has since been completed, the SANDF said.
Makwetla is leading the SANDF delegation to Manicaland Province in Zimbabwe to officially commission the bridges on 6 December.
The construction of the bridges was done through the cooperation of various departments like the Department of International Relations ad Cooperation, Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and the Department of Cooperative Governance.
Towards the end of July, the SANDF deployed over 100 engineers to Zimbabwe to assist with fixing damage from Cyclone Idai. The SANDF personnel were scheduled to be in Zimbabwe for a period of 23 weeks, rebuilding roads and bridges before the summer rainy season.
When Cyclone Idai hit Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe in March, heavy rains fell across much of eastern Zimbabwe, with the heaviest rains falling in the Chimanimani District. Widespread flash flooding claimed hundreds of lives and caused extensive damage, with the Nyahonde River bursting its banks and inundating numerous communities. Destruction of numerous bridges and roads in eastern Chimanimani isolated many residents.