Many rural pupils from several villages have to wade across the Baziya River to get to school every day, even though almost four years ago the King Sabata Dalindyebo local municipality allocated almost R20m for the construction of a bridge to connect several villages to urban centres and schools.
But still there is no bridge. Meanwhile, the Dispatch has seen a copy of a municipal council document reportedly tabled by KSD municipality mayor Nyaniso Nelani at a council meeting in May asking for approval for additional funding from provincial Cogta to complete the bridge.
According to the document, R19.9m had been requested from the municipal infrastructure grant for the implementation of a two-pronged project in 2019; the construction of a bridge and the construction of a 13km gravel road leading to the bridge.
Begin Africa Services was appointed to design the bridge while Ngqukaza JV Mzuyanda Trading was appointed to construct the bridge in 2020.
Another company called Cycle Projects and Civils was appointed to build the road at a cost of more than R10m.
However, Ngqukaza JV Mzuyanda Trading’s contract was terminated in 2021.
According to council documents, when the contract was terminated, the company had already pocketed almost R1m from the municipality for its services. When a Dispatch team visited the site of the bridge on Tuesday, Unakho and classmate Nkosivile Khetevu were crossing the river to get home from Gobinamba Senior Secondary school in Mputi village.
Unakho lives in Nyoka village and Nkosivile in Sxuzula village.
“We literally have to take our clothes off when crossing here. Even in winter when the water is freezing, it is always the same story,” Unakho said.
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