Premier Oscar Mabuyane officially launched 10 state-of-the-art infrastructure projects in Emalahleni Local Municipality in Cacadu on Thursday.
These included a Bailey bridge in Tsembeyi village and a vehicle testing station, handed over by the premier with transport MEC, Weziwe Tikana-Gxothiwe.
Access roads were also constructed for Tsolokazi and Maqwathini in Cacadu.
Recreational parks in Cacadu and Indwe were also opened, as well as paving done in Dordrecht and Indwe.
Department of sport, recreation, arts & culture MEC Fezeka Bayeni handed over a sports facility and kit.
Meanwhile, rural development & agrarian reform MEC Nomakhosazana Meth handed over a shearing shed and feedlot at Holani. The bridge was constructed by the South African National Defence Force with the department of transport and public works to enable residents from surrounding villages to access schools and health care facilities.
The premier said: “We are here to deliver services to improve people’s lives.
“The river [under the bridge] has cost many lives over the past years.
“In 1970, a painful incident occurred where a family was swept away by the river and drowned.
“One of the community members said we were here to wipe away the tears of many people who lost their loved ones, including school pupils. This project has moved us.”
Mabuyane said it was the seventh Bailey bridge of the nine planned for the province.
The vehicle testing station, he said, would be a source of revenue for ELM, as it would not be necessary for motorists to travel to Elliot or Komani.
He said the infrastructure was part of a small revitalisation programme for small towns like Cacadu, Dordrecht and Indwe.
“It was not nice to see the Amavarara FC [from Cacadu] having to travel to play in East London due to the lack of proper sports facilities.”
The premier commended the Emalahleni municipal team for delivering on the projects.
“Projects are not completed in most municipalities, especially sports facilities, as there is usually a lot of corruption.
“If a project should be done in a year, they do it in two.
“Projects which were meant to be done with R2m will require R4m, while in other places they are waiting for water and electricity services.”
He added that Emalahleni managed to create universal access to electricity.
“Government officials are paid to deliver and not the other way around. We are fighting against corruption.”
The premier said he was unhappy with the way municipalities dragged out repairs by months instead of addressing them in days.
He also added that the battle against Covid-19 was still real.
ELM mayor Nontombizanele Koni said the event was held for the public to witness the projects created by the government for Emalahleni.
Koni said: “People often do not believe or recognise the work we do.
“We hope government will continue assisting Emalahleni to improve people’s lives.”
She urged community members to guard the assets, encouraging the youth to put the sports facility to good use to curb crime.