TAKING FLIGHT: Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, SANRAL CEO Nazir Alli and Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works MEC Thandiswa Marawu attended a stakeholder meeting and fly-over to the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road with the Kings of Pondoland in Port St. Johns, Eastern Cape.
Port St. Johns, Eastern Cape, 25 July 2016 – The South African National Road Agency Limited (SANRAL) has concluded a busy week of outreaches, stakeholder relations and ministerial consultation meetings for the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road Project, the agency announced today.
On Wednesday and Thursday, a site visit took pre-qualified bidders to the locations of the two mega-bridges across the Mtentu and Msikaba river gorges in the Eastern Cape as part of preparation for submission of bids for the construction of the new architectural landmarks for the region. SANRAL will make an appointment towards the end of the year, and construction will start in January and February 2017.
On Friday, SMMEs and businesses from the surrounding towns, communities and villages had an opportunity to engage SMME support agencies and businesses together with SANRAL on the opportunities before, during and after construction of the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road and the programmes and commercial products available to assist them.
The week ended on Saturday with a ministerial event and fly-over to give an aerial perspective of the road to Eastern Pondoland king Zanozuko Sigcau and king Ndamase Ndamase of Western Pondoland as part of outreaches with traditional leadership in the region. The event was hosted and attended by the Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, SANRAL CEO Nazir Alli and the Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Public Works MEC Thandiswa Marawu.
The area known as Pondoland incorporates the areas of Mbizana, Libode, Ngqeleni, Port St Johns, Tabankulu, and Umsikaba, the region through which N2 Wild Coast Toll Road will run.
Speaking to media, King Sigcau said “good infrastructure will bring job and business opportunities, and make Pondoland accessible to South Africa and the world.”
“The region can be stimulated through tourism, the establishment of a fisheries industry and marine economy, and we will be able to build more schools, for example,” he said.
“This road will bring more opportunities. Business-wise, and economically, it will boost us. Pondoland will be something else after this project,” he said.
King Ndamase said the project “is very important, [and] something we need.”
“If you look at Pondoland, there are a lot of things with potential, such as agriculture. With the road transportation costs can be reduce, for example.”
Speaking on possible divisions on the project within communities, Ndamase dismissed such views. “Sometimes, you will find that people don’t have the correct information. It is not that they are against this project,” he said.
Construction of construction haul roads to the sites of the two mega-bridges is set to kick-off in September 2016.
The “greenfields” portion of the road entails a 112 kilometre stretch between Ndwalane outside Port St Johns and the Mtamvuna River between Mzamba and Port Edward. It will include nine major bridges, three interchange bridges and new roads. Construction on the greenfields portion is set to begin in the second half of 2018, and SANRAL will issue tender notices later this year for the appointment of consulting engineering service providers.
“This is a very important project, in particular for the community here, and for them to have access to services like health to be able to reach facilities and services to get help and to sustain their lives,” said Minister Dipuo Peters.
“But also, this is a beautiful part of our country to experience. The road will help us to unlock the tourism potential,” she said.
“For the people of Pondoland, this is your project, this is your development, this is the better life that Madiba actually promised. This is the step or beginning of working towards that better life for all. It is a long walk, but we are here today,” concluded Minister Peters.
Source: Eastern Cape – MyPR.
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