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Nkandla road claims rubbished

Oct 10 2012 20:40 Sapa

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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal has rejected claims that roads in the Nkandla area were made a priority because President Jacob Zuma's home village is located in the area.

"When the construction of all these roads started, President Zuma was not the president of the country," transport MEC Willies Mchunu said on Wednesday.

"In fact, the former president Thabo Mbeki announced Nkandla and other struggling municipalities as priorities."

The plan to develop these roads and bridges was then put together.

The Mercury newspaper reported on Wednesday that a 32.4km stretch of road, the P15, linking Zuma's village in KwaNxamalala to Kranskop, was built for R290m, and a 54.4km road, the P50, linking Eshowe with the village and the town of Nkandla cost R292m.

The Democratic Alliance said it would ask the Public Protector to investigate the two new road networks.

"Public funds should not be spent to service the home and the hometown of the president to the detriment of other projects that are meant to improve the lives of ordinary South Africans," said DA transport spokesman Ian Ollis.

He said he would also ask the Protector to investigate whether there had been any political directive to build roads in Nkandla, instead of in other rural areas in the province.

Two pedestrian bridges, across the Nsuze and Mposa rivers in the greater KwaNxamalala area, link villages to schools and cost R4.5m.

Mchunu said work on the P15 began in August 2006. The P50 had been earmarked for upgrading as early as 2003. Work on the two roads provided more than 11 000 jobs.

The roads were not the only major road building projects in the country.

Other examples were the John Ross highway in Richard's Bay and the Sani pass, linking South Africa and Lesotho, the MEC said.

He said R1.92bn had been allocated to roads in other areas in the 2012/13 financial year.

"Surely this should illustrate to everyone that our limited budget covers a wide range of places in the province," said Mchunu.

"Clearly, the spread of this expenditure and areas identified illustrate that our work has nothing to do with politics or the alleged and imagined perceptions that the Nkandla projects were meant for the president."

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