Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Construction of R90m tar road through Limpopo village to resume following protests

The construction of a R90m tarred road through an impoverished Limpopo village, which was blocked by a group of protesters, is expected to resume next week after a local municipality was granted a court interdict.
Greater Tzaneen municipal spokesperson Neville Ndlala said the building of the 14.5km road in Zanghoma village, near Tzaneen, would resume on January 10.
"If the protesters try to block the project again, they will be breaking the law and the police must do their job. We cannot allow a minority to frustrate our determination to provide our people with quality services," he said.
The three-year project, which began in September 2015 and is funded by the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, involves building an access road that will link a shopping mall, a small town and four poverty-stricken villages.
Problems started shortly before the local government elections in August, when the project reached Zanghoma village, after a group of residents protested against a decision to build the road through their village.
The protesters wanted the tarred road to bypass the area and staged violent protests on the construction site, forcing the contractor to abandon the project.
The court interdict, which was granted in October, prohibits 21 community leaders from organising demonstrations against the construction, or taking part in any activity that would hinder the building of the road.
Ndlala said it was part of the municipality's infrastructural development plan to build access roads to all local villages.
"The tarred road is 60% complete. It will improve access to our villages and also create business opportunities for local entrepreneurs. We are happy that the majority of villagers support the project," he said.
Local Induna Peter Nkhwashu accused the municipality of changing the scope and direction of the project without consulting the community.
"We are not against development, but we want the municipality to implement the original decision to build a bypass road," he said.
Ndlala said the construction of a bypass road was a separate project which will be funded by the provincial government.

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