Mafube Coal held a symbolic sod-turning ceremony at the Sikhululiwe Village Sports Ground on Tuesday. This ceremony marks the official beginning of the construction of a shorter access road that will give the community easy access to the R104 towards Belfast and Middleburg.
The access road forms part of the Mafube Coal’s socio economic development strategy and has been identified in order to uplift the communities by improving basic infrastructure. Mafube Coal’s general manager, Shepherd Nkadimeng said, “The construction of the road is projected to cost R29million and will provide an opportunity to a local construction company that will in turn hire local labour to uplift lives of the communities where we operate.
Infrastructure development is about creating opportunities to positively impact the lives of our communities. Roads are about creating access to opportunities, connecting families, and ensuring continuous improvement to service delivery and this is why we have partnered with local government authorities and community leaders to bring this initiative to life.”
The new road, spanning 3.465km, aims to reshape the landscape of Sikhululiwe Village, neighbouring farms and will solve the community’s struggle to gain access to and from the village due to deteriorated roads as a result of erosion.
The current 5.1km gravel road will undergo a remarkable transformation, shortening the travel distance by an impressive 1.635km and emerging as a tarred route that will create greater reach to schools, healthcare centres and municipality facilities by ensuring that valuable time is not lost in travel.
Speaking during the ceremony, the MEC of Public Works, Roads and Transport Hon MP Ndlovu welcomed and applauded the commitment by Mafube Coal and all the involved stakeholders to implement the project that will change the lives of the people of Sikhululiwe Village and the entire Nkangala District.
“Mafube Coal has delivered on the commitment they have made to build this road for the community. As government we appreciate the building of infrastructure and commend the company for not just focussing on profits but sharing their proceeds with the community.” Said MEC of Public Works, Roads and Transport Hon MP Ndlovu
Located south of the Mafube Coal Mine, in the Steve Tshwete Local Municipality within Nkangala District, Mpumalanga Province, the project’s significance extends beyond its physical boundaries. The collaboration between the local government and Mafube exemplifies how unity and shared vision can lead to groundbreaking initiatives that touch lives.
The Ward Councillor, Cllr Iddy Mahlangu, a long-time resident in the Sikhululiwe Village, reflected on the unfolding of the road construction project and said, “The project signifies a monumental leap for our village. The prospect of a well-constructed road brings a renewed sense of hope. We can't wait to witness our community thrive.”
Among other opportunities, the construction of the Sikhululiwe Village Road project will generate a range of jobs across various sectors. Some of the potential job roles include construction workers, heavy equipment operators and drivers, maintenance workers and cleaners. More than 30 jobs will be created for the neighbouring communities as well as subcontracting opportunities.
The project is anticipated to be completed by April 2024