R49m road upgrade between Tentergate, Rocklands in progress

ROAD WORKS: The road upgrade between Tentergate and Rocklands Picture: SUPPLIED

Phase four of a R49m road upgrade project commissioned by the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality between Tentergate and Rocklands is well underway.

The 25 kilometre road upgrade, which involved the construction of a tarred road at villages on the Ntabethemba administrative area, was a continuation of the multi-year road upgrade project. According to EMLM spokesperson Lonwabo Kowa, the project had five phases which have been awarded to Unik Civil Engineering. The go-ahead for phase one was given on June 29, 2015. Phases one, two and three were completed on March 31, 2017, March 6 2018 and June 26, 2019 respectively.

“This is a labour-intensive venture and 143 local people which includes women and the youth are part of the labour force, employed through expanded public works programme provisions. It is a condition of the contract that 30% of the value of work (not the value of the contract) of each phase of the project is sub-contracted to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME) contractors. The main contractor for all five phases is Unik Civil Engineering and seven local SMMEs are participating.”

Ward 32 councillor Nkululeko Ngcefe said the fourth phase of the project was a long-awaited intervention. “We are glad this was a labour-intensive project in which a good number of people got employment. Community members meticulously elected a capable project steering committee that has represented them well. This will have far-reaching benefits as it will even enhance accessibility to the Tsolwana Game Reserve when all phases have been done.”

Kowa said as part of corporate social responsibility, community members would receive training and they would decide the kind of training they required.

Speaking to The Rep last week, taxi drivers who used that road on a regular basis and who wished to remain anonymous hoped that stakeholders would speed up completion of the project. “We have been waiting for the completion of that road for years. We want them to speed up the process and keep the road in good condition. The road from Mitford to Rocklands still has bumps. We hope the current road will be done well.”

Another driver said the road had damaged their vehicles and he was happy it was under construction, indicating “the quicker the project was done, the better for motorists.”