During a visit today to the R1.6 billion Msikaba Bridge, which will become the longest cable-stay bridge in Africa when completed, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said the government would not allow people with hidden agendas to stop development.
The bridge is part of the N2 Wild Coast road, which stretches 410 km from the Gonubie Interchange in East London to the Mtamvuna River near Port Edward, and will cut driving distances by 85 kilometres and up to three hours. Its construction will create 7,000 jobs and was one of the large infrastructure projects referred to by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.
The project has met resistance over the years from local communities, and community lawyers have put the N2 project in the same league as issues like the Xolobeni community fighting outside miners and the recent murder of KZN anti-mining activist Fikile Ntshangase. Mbalula said that genuine concerns raised by local communities would be addressed by his department and SANRAL, but government would not allow people with hidden agendas to stop development.
The Wild Coast N2 will connect four provinces: Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga, traversing the cities and towns of Cape Town, George, Knysna, Port Elizabeth, East London, Mthatha, Durban and Ermelo.
The 580 metre-long Msikaba Bridge will be the longest cable-stay bridge in Africa. With a deck height of 194 metres above the river valley, it will be the third-highest bridge in Africa and the 133rd-highest in the world.
“I was incredibly impressed with the progress being made, the magnitude of the project and the economic development opportunities created for emerging black business and SMMEs on this project,” Mbalula said.