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Source: South Africa News Agency

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has once again reiterated government’s commitment to take on new road infrastructure projects, upgrades and maintenance.

The Minister was speaking during the opening of Madidi Bridge in Madibeng, North West, on Tuesday.

This comes after the Department of Transport and its entity, the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL), launched October Transport Month in Hammarsdale, KwaZulu-Natal, at the beginning of the month.

“We made an undertaking that through this October Transport Month, we will travel through the length and breadth of this country to monitor service delivery of road infrastructure, showcasing our achievements and intervening where challenges persist,” Mbalula said.

Transport, as a means of unlocking economic development, features strongly in the National Development Plan (NDP).

“Central to its vision, the NDP emphasises the critical importance of investing in infrastructure in the creation of jobs, particularly for women and young people,” Mbalula said, adding that the NDP further calls on government to invest in rural communities in the building of roads.

He said his department is also determined to push the Presidential Infrastructure Development Projects to create jobs as part of government’s response to boost the economy.

“This could not be more urgent as we respond by to the economic downturn presented to us by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“Indeed, we are responding to the call by the President. In our plans, we are investing billions through SANRAL commissioning new projects, upgrades and maintenance of our roads network.”

Throughout the country, especially in rural and marginalised communities, transport infrastructure assists in generating economic growth, alleviating poverty, and reducing the scourge of inequality, while increasing international competitiveness.

“It is for these reasons that the Department of Transport, through its Labour Intensive Rural Roads Programme, purposely invests in rural communities,” said Mbalula.

Madidi Bridge

Madidi Bridge connects Phasha and Madidi villages.

The bridge was built over Sand River (also known as Toloane River).

“Madidi Bridge serves as a link between the remote village of Phasha and the rest of the Madibeng Local Municipality, as well as other neighbouring areas of Gauteng.”

The project resulted in the much-needed jobs and training for local workers, including youth and women, while 25 local sub-constructors were also given opportunities.  

Mbalula commended SANRAL for empowering young graduates and investing in communities, which are rural and underdeveloped.

National Taxi Lekgotla

Mbalula said his department will host the National Taxi Lekgotla again this month.

“The lekgotla will bring taxi industry stakeholders under one roof to chart a new way forward for this important industry that transports our people.”

He hopes that the public council will conclude the long-standing and ongoing debate on subsidising, professionalising and regulating the industry.

“I invite everyone to participate in all programmes of October Transport Month and join us in conversation as we put together a blueprint for a taxi industry that is an integral part of the formal economy and is truly empowered.” – SAnews.gov.za

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