Pretoria-Residents of Mankele village in Greater Tubatse, Limpopo, have something to smile about; the construction of a modern bridge and a tarred road to replace the notorious and unsafe makeshift cable car which they used previously to cross the Olifants River.
Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale officially unveiled the R87 million bridge and road constructed at the settlement, on Tuesday.
Residents previously crossed the Olifants River using a makeshift cable car known as a segwaigwai.
"Many lives which were lost during the crossing of the river through segwaigwai did not perish in vain for today we are here to open a monument that will always remind us of the history of our struggle for development," he said.
Mathale said the provincial government was committed to delivering services to every corner of the province.
"Every place has a historic traditional meaning to our people. Our heritage and origin as Africans is connected to the land of our ancestors.
"This means any forceful relocation of people will disconnect people from their history. This segwaigwai is very important, not only to the people of Mankele, but to all the people of Limpopo and humanity as a whole," he said.
The Premier said people of Mankele and surrounding villages had the responsibility to guard jealously against any person who intended to damage the bridge and road or any other public infrastructure.
"We have seen people damaging their own property during street protests for service delivery.
The reality is that damaging public property in the name of demanding service delivery is not only a crime, but is also counter revolutionary as it relegates our people further down into the deep center of underdevelopment," he said.
Mathale said while there were naysayers who believed that a bridge could never be built over the Olifants River, the province was not prepared to fail the people of Mankele.
"We were not prepared to fail or disappoint the people of Mankele, neither were we ready to abandon our responsibility to the people of Limpopo," he said.
It took 15 months of intensive construction work to complete the bridge and the 12 kilometre tarred road. Forty labourers were employed during the construction phase.
Mathale, who described Limpopo as the leader of development, said with the construction of the bridge, learners would now reach their respective schools easily, while workers will arrive at work on time.