Bushy Maape says opening of NW bridge has nothing to do with municipal election votes
Pretoria – Northwest Prime Minister Bushy Maape yesterday hit back at critics who said the unveiling of a multi-million rand bridge at Vermaasdrift near Potchefstroom was used as bait to lure ANC voters to the municipal elections of November 1.
Maape was speaking at a ceremony to mark the completion of the bridges that link his province and the Free State. He attacked opposition parties for criticizing the timing of the opening of the bridges.
âThese bridges were planned a long time ago. We do not have the art of making the completion of the bridges coincide with the elections. We are not wizards and we are not prophets.
âIn fact, we planned for this bridge to happen, and it has happened. If this worries and offends you and it ends in the meantime, especially you opposition parties, that is none of our business. Keep worrying about it, âhe said.
Also present were the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula, his deputy Sindisiwe Chikunga and the president of the SA National Taxi Association, Phillip Taaibosch.
Mbalula weighed in on Northwestern politics, saying he wished Maape a long stay at the head of the province because “Northwest prime ministers don’t last.”
He warned Maape to be careful because other people were watching his every step and would soon prepare for his fall.
He said the suspected plotters would send delegations to Luthuli House in “a few weeks”, demanding that Maape be removed and replaced by themselves. Maape was installed in the post last month after the ANC’s provincial interim committee recalled former prime minister Job Mokgoro, who replaced Supra Mahumapelo in 2018.
Regarding the project, he said it was part of the labor-intensive S’hamba Sonke program in the Northwest, which saw the construction of four bridges in Vermaasdrift. However, only two bridges were presented and more would be completed at a later stage.
The program was part of plans to accelerate the government’s goal of creating 11 million jobs by 2030, in line with the National Development Plan.
Mbalula used the event to officially launch the October 2021 Transportation Month campaign to showcase flagship projects aimed at creating more jobs.
âDuring Transport Month, we want to refresh the meaning of road building and infrastructure development in rural areas. We have allocated 7 billion rand for the S’hamba Sonke project in different provinces, âhe said.
He said the project created at least 118 jobs for residents. Bridges were expected to play an important role in connecting the communities of the Northwest and the Free State.
âThe bridges will allow farming communities to transport their produce from farms to local markets,â he said.
According to Mbalula, his department had invested 37 billion rand that would be spent on building roads involving labor-intensive methods, in order to create jobs.
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