Mayor Mihloti Muhlope, MEC Nandi Ndalane and Mr Alex Tsanwani of Lilithalethu Trading cut the ribbon during the official opening of the R20 million reconstructed Musina-to-Mapungubwe bridge.
Mr Thomas Muleya is a taxi owner who transports passengers from Musina to the areas around the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site. His business nearly hit a snag in 2013 when the bridge between Musina and Mapungubwe on the D1483 road was swept away by heavy rains.
Although alternative routes were available, road users such as Muleya were not comfortable because the routes were not tarred and caused damage to their vehicles.
For Muleya and all other road users, life will now be easier after the MEC for Public Works, Roads and Infrastructure, Nandi Ndalane, and Musina Mayor Mihloti Muhlope officially opened the reconstructed R20 million bridge last week Thursday.
The bridge made headlines in January 2013 when a father, Mr Hendrick Malithuba, and his children, Thapelo and Thabo, lost their lives when the vehicle they were travelling in plunged into the stream, unaware that the bridge had been swept away by heavy rains.
Malithuba’s body was found 500m from the scene of the horrific accident and his children’s bodies were found 2km away after the rescue team spent four sleepless days and nights on their search mission.
When handing over the bridge, MEC Ndalane said that, despite limited resources, the government was doing everything possible to improve the lives of the people. She said it was a top priority for the government to fix the bridge because the road on which it was built led to the world heritage site of Mapungubwe. “We are happy that the project has been successfully completed and road users will be able to travel without any difficulties. I therefore joyfully handover this beautiful bridge to our local road users, tourists and the entire South African nation.”
Musina Mayor Mihloti Muhlope said the successful completion and handing over of the bridge would boost economic development in Musina Local Municipality. “A good road network stimulates development, and we are happy that the bridge has now been completed and handed over to our community. We are also excited that, during the time of construction, job opportunities were created for our people and they have also acquired skills that they will use for the rest of their lives.”