Thumbs up for Thakgalang access road

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed satisfaction  with progress made on the construction of a rural access road in Thakgalang village in Limpopo.

President Ramaphosa said this during his visit to the village to inspect progress made by the National Department of Transport on the rural access road project that links the village and several district municipalities.

The village is situated outside Polokwane.

What is most impressive about the project is that locals including those with disabilities, were employed. The project employs 115 people, including women and youth.

The project, a flagship of the department’s labour-intensive S’hamba Sonke programme, covers the R36 provincial route via Morebeng to D11 road at Tshabelane, Capricorn and Mopani district municipalities.

The President also encouraged local contractors to employ local people.  “We must be able to build our own roads, our people must be employed, we must use local skills and local materials. The road will make it easier for the local communities to access nearby communities with ease," he said on Tuesday.

At the same time, he also appealed to communities to look after the road and other local infrastructure.

One of the participants in the project, Modiegi Ranwedi, a mother of two, told SAnews that she is has been able to support her family as a result of the project. “Since I left school, I haven’t been working. I am happy that I am now able to support my family,” she said.

Ranwedi said apart from being able to support her family, she has learnt the art of brick paving.

In the past, rainy weather had meant that the community could not use the road, said Frank Lesiba.

 “Our children are now able to go to school even when it is raining. Delivery vehicles are able to access our area with ease even during rainy seasons,” Lesiba said.

More than 50 Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) have participated in the project as part of a contractual requirement for their empowerment.

Addressing road repair backlogs

The road construction project in Thakgalang is part of the S'hamba Sonke (meaning walking together) programme that was launched by the Department of Transport in 2011 to address the backlog in road repairs.

The programme is one of the projects that will accelerate efforts to meet government’s target of creating 11 million job opportunities by the year 2030 as outlined in the National Development Plan (NDP).

The programme, which has seen the department invest in the rollout of road infrastructure mainly in rural areas, plays a key role in supporting South African’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan that was announced by the President in the February 2018 State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Government is implementing the plan to enable an economic rebound through job creation, critical economic reforms, acceleration of service delivery and expansion of the SMME sector.

Shova Kalula project

After addressing the local community, President Ramaphosa and Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula handed over bicycles to learners as part of the department’s Shova Kalula project.

The department manages the project with the objective of maximizing the use of non-motorised transport to enable communities to access social and economic opportunities.

It also seeks to promote cycling as a low cost mobility solution to low income households, targeting mainly scholars, rural women and farm-workers.

South Africa’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan highlights large-scale infrastructure development and an employment stimulus as some of the key actions towards rebuilding an economy that has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President and Minister Mbalula were accompanied by Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabathe and senior provincial government officials. –

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