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Joint media statement by the Minister of Transport, Mr Joe Maswanganyi and the Eastern Cape Premier, Mr Phumulo Masualle held at the Eastern Cape State House
Premier Phumulo Masualle
MEC for Roads and Public Works Ms Thandiswa Marawu
MEC for Transport, Ms Weziwe Tikana
Member of the SANRAL Board, Mr Matete Matete
Acting Director General, Chris Hlabisa
SANRAL CEO, Sikhumbuzo Macozoma
Senior Management of the all spheres of government present
Members of the media
Ladies and gentlemen
Today I met with the Eastern Cape Premier Mr Phumulo Masualle, MEC for Roads and Public Works Ms Thandiswa Marawu and MEC for Transport Weziwe Tikana to give them an update about the N2 Wild Coast Project.
As you may know the N2 is a strategic route that traverses four provinces, namely, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Mpumalanga. As government we are aware that an investment in this road can have major socio economic benefits for these provinces.
Today, we are here to talk to you about the N2 as it relates to the Eastern Cape. Known as the N2 Wild Coast Project, this is one of the eighteen (18) Strategic Integrated Project (SIP 3) that was approved by Cabinet.
In the Eastern Cape, the N2 Wild Coast stretch from East London to the Eastern Cape boarder. Of the total length, some 112 km would be on a new greenfields alignment between the Ndwalane (near Port St Johns) and the Mtamvuna River (near Port Edward).
The road will include two (2) mega-bridge structures on the Msikaba and Mtentu Rivers, Seven (7) additional major river bridges and five (5) interchange bridges.
The remainder of the project comprises the upgrading of the existing roads, mainly the R61 already underway and the future construction of ring roads at Mthatha, Idutwya and Butterworth.
Once complete the route will be approximately 85 km shorter than the current N2 alignment from Mthatha to Port Shepstone and will be up to three (3) hours faster, particularly for heavy freight vehicles.
Ladies and gentlemen, we see the N2 Wild Coast as not only a road project but catalyst for other developments.
Economically, the project will result in significantly faster delivery times and lower transportation costs in terms of freight. It will improve mobility and connectivity between provinces and towns within and between provinces.
The Wild Coast has a lot of tourism potential and this project will improve access, mobility and attractiveness for tourists. Also, it will open up the provinces agricultural potential by improving access to markets through an improved road.
In terms of Local Economic Development, the project will yield significant Local SMME/business opportunities, both directly and indirectly.
SANRAL will ensure that local SMMEs have a significant involvement in the project through the following measures:
Upfront training of local SMMEs (already underway);
A minimum 30% CPG goal for all road infrastructure projects including sub allocations for various levels of contractors linked to local target areas as well as local suppliers of goods and services;
Unbundling of a minimum of 14 grade 4-7 CE and GB contracts for relocation of affected households and the construction of local access roads;
Training and development of SMMEs and labour during construction;
The development of local hard rock quarries and sand mines;
The implementation of various community development projects; and;
The use of Targeted Enterprises for 20%-30% of the consultants design work + additional opportunities for local professionals
The positive economic impact will be felt by places such as Port St Johns, Lusikisiki and Mzamba, as well as towns such as Flagstaff, Bizana and Holy Cross. The mandate given to SANRAL is to ensure that locals benefit from both jobs and business opportunities.
Ladies and gentlemen, a road is not just a road. It links communities to other social services provided by government and this road will certainly improve access to health care, education and other social services.
The budget for the upgrading of the existing N2 and R61 portions of the N2 Wild Coast project has since 2011 been funded from the SANRAL non-toll budget.
The total budget required for the N2 Wild Coast Road greenfields portion is approximately R8.5 � 9.0 billion.
Funding for the two bridges has already been made available through the Department of Transport.
The Ministry will be making an announcement as soon as I have completed my interaction with the SANRAL Board in this regard.
In conclusion, I take this opportunity to thank the Premier, the Eastern Cape Provincial Government, the PICC, Political Oversight Committee, Mayors and affected Districts and Municipalities, Traditional Leaders, Business Chambers and the affected Communities for the support and enthusiasm that they have shown for this project thus far.
As we roll it out, we are hopeful that the same spirit of collaboration and cooperation will continue.
I thank you.
Source: Government of South Africa
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JOHANNESBURG � The claims that Zimbabwe’s first lady, Grace Mugabe, assaulted a young woman in an upscale Johannesburg hotel have grabbed international headlines for their sordid details � and self-posted pictures of the alleged victim’s deep wounds.
The incident also has created a major diplomatic headache for two countries that have very delicate relations. The two nations are major trade partners. In recent years, however, instability and economic woes have sent millions of Zimbabweans fleeing to South Africa, where they form a loud and angry diaspora that almost unanimously calls for South Africa to condemn President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980.
The allegations against Grace Mugabe have thrown these larger issues into sharper focus.
Immune or not immune?
A spokesman for South Africa’s department of international relations said the department would not comment on the matter.
It is that department that has the difficult job of deciding whether to grant Grace Mugabe’s request for diplomatic immunity � meaning she cannot be prosecuted � over the incident that allegedly occurred this past weekend. Mugabe failed to appear before police to give a statement Tuesday.
On Thursday, legendary South African prosecutor Gerrie Nel � nicknamed the Bulldog, the same prosecutor who eventually achieved a murder conviction against Oscar Pistorius � said his organization, Afriforum, would provide legal representation for the victim.
Nel says Mugabe’s request for immunity should not be granted, on the grounds that initially she said she was visiting South Africa for medical treatment and not, as she now says, to attend a regional summit alongside her husband.
“It’s not automatic. There’s lots of prescriptions and things that should be followed before somebody can claim immunity,” Nel said.
On Sunday, Gabriella Engels, the woman who claims that Grace Mugabe attacked her, posted details of her ordeal on Twitter, along with graphic photos of a deep cut on her forehead from the extension cord she says Mugabe used to beat her. She did not speak Thursday � Nel says she will not do so until she is put on the stand at trial.
In a tweet, Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party claims Grace Mugabe was the victim, saying, “We can confirm if this is one of the perpetrators who attacked comrade Grace Mugabe.”
Engels’ legal team also says she was approached this week by a third party � which they did not name � offering an out-of-court settlement if she dropped the charges. Engels says she will not.
But will a trial ever happen? Zimbabwe scholar David Moore of the University of Johannesburg says South Africa’s government is in a very sticky position � whether to hurt international relations by prosecuting Mugabe, or whether to weaken its already heavily criticized judiciary by letting her go.
And, he says, there’s another wrinkle: Mrs. Mugabe is positioning herself to be her aging, ailing husband’s successor. She already leads one faction of his ruling ZANU-PF party, and is trying to win favor over Mugabe’s vice president.
“Now if Grace Mugabe is disgraced through this event in South Africa you’d have a very unpopular leader of a party, and a very temporary leader, because she’s volatile, as we can see,” Moore said. “That would lead to more uncertainty on the borders of South Africa. So, South Africa now has to worry about how they handle this situation with Grace Mugabe, how this will affect politics in Zimbabwe.”
There is yet another wrinkle: In recent weeks, South African President Jacob Zuma has drawn criticism for not acting decisively enough in condemning a deputy minister who faces assault charges himself. Furthermore, that official was not immediately arrested and was given what many critics say was preferential treatment once he finally appeared at a court and admitted to the assault.
It is anyone’s guess what might happen next in the Mugabe case, according to Zimbabwean analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya, the head of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute.
“Under normal circumstances,” he said, a case like this one, “would create some kind of [mis]understanding between Harare and Pretoria. Beating a woman, repugnant as it is … It is not something that appears to shock Zuma.”
And where is Grace Mugabe in all of this? Will she appear at the regional summit that she says she traveled to South Africa to attend?
South African officials say she is still in the country, but have not disclosed her location. Local media has reported that she recently purchased a lavish mansion in a Johannesburg suburb.
Source: Voice of America