Bridge saves residents from deadly river, black mambas

By Celani Sikhakhane

Community members from the remote rural village of Nhlwathi in northern KwaZulu-Natal can finally breathe a sigh of relief after getting a bridge to save them from a deadly river known to harbour black mambas. 

The Department of Transport unveiled the R30-million Wela River Bridge on Tuesday, following years of protests from residents. 

Community member Hlengiwe Mavimbela said the Wela River has been responsible for at least 10 deaths. 

“There is a gravel bend coming to the river. The drivers come to that sharp bend and accidentally drive into the river, especially at night,” said Mavimbela.

“We are grateful that we have finally received this bridge with a tarred road.”

Former councillor Thulani Kunene said there was a dangerous population of mambas in the area.

“During summer when you get stuck you would have to run for your life from black mambas that roam around here,” said Kunene. 

“I remember seeing a black mamba standing tall like a human being. I almost fainted as I was driving.”

Transport MEC Sipho Hlomuka said the bridge helps to connect the two prominent clans of eMdletsheni and KwaHlabisa.

“The two clans can strengthen their relationship through marriages without the difficulties of crossing the deadly river,” he said. 

 At the bridge opening ceremony, Umkhanyakude district mayor Siphile Mdaka introduced the contractor for water distribution in the village. 

He said water will be sourced through boreholes and from Jozini Dam to end the water crisis in Nhlwathi, eZibayeni and other areas in KwaHlabisa.

Pictured above: The R30-million Wela Bridge constructed in Nhlwathi to save communities from the deadly river and black mambas.

Image source: Celani Sikhakhane 


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