R53m to finish bridges, other work

ACCESS TO SERVICES: The construction of the Bacclesfarm bridge is underway after work came to a standstill when the treasury department withheld the EMLM funds because of lack of good financial management Picture: SUPPLIED

Work on broken bridges at Bacclesfarm and Qwabi Village that hindered community members from accessing services resumed earlier this month, with the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality (EMLM) setting aside R53m to complete previously halted projects due to lack of funds.

The bridges project, the construction of the Whittlesea community hall, the Lesseyton and McBride sports grounds were stalled during the 2018/19 financial year when both the national and provincial treasury departments withheld EMLM funds due to the lack of positive financial management at the institution.

The funds sourced from the municipal infrastructure grant are meant to fast-track the multi-million rand projects as they have been delayed for more than a year.

EMLM mayor Luleka Gubula and her mayoral committee visited the project sites when work resumed and met with contractors and community members who spoke about the inconvenience caused by the broken bridges.

Qwabi resident and bus driver Xolani Makina indicated he had to park further than where he lived and cross the bridge on foot to get there.

“I have to park the bus at another house for safety because of the broken bridge. We are happy the contractor is on site to continue with the work they started. However, the pace is too slow. We need stricter monitoring by the project steering committee and the municipality,” he said.

The area ward councillor Ayanda Tiwana said the makeshift bypass at the bridge posed a danger to commuters, especially when it rained, and that community members had been working together to maintain it.

Speaking to Qwabi residents, Gubula said she understood the frustration and inconvenience the broken bridges caused and would ensure that all the projects were completed as soon as possible.

“Funds have been made available and we will not waste any more time. We will give all necessary support to the administration so that the procurement processes are done in the quickest possible time, with adherence to supply management policies.”

Gubula said during a clean-up campaign in Komani this week the incomplete work at the bridges had blocked the people from accessing services and that she was happy work had resumed.

She indicated that of all the projects, the Lesseyton sports grounds would be completed soonest as it was 90% done.

“I cannot give a timeframe of when we will hand it over to the community, but we will launch it very soon if all goes according to plan.”

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