R127m route to Elliotdale and Qunu so far only links Mandla Mandela’s home to N2
Bhisho has failed to deliver on its promise to extend a paved road stretching from Mandla Mandela’s Mvezo Great Place east to the town of Elliotdale and north to Nelson Mandela’s birthplace in Qunu.
The paved road, which cost R127-million to construct, so far has only linked Mandla’s home with the N2 above the Mbhashe River.
The original plan was that it would link the N2 with Elliotdale 20km away and Qunu 25km away in a T-shape.
But in 2013 it all came to a halt without any explanation from the government on why the rest of the road to Elliotdale had not been paved.
Former premier Noxolo Kiviet made a commitment three years ago that the provincial government would connect the iNkosi Dalibhunga Mandela Legacy Bridge on the N2 near Mvezo Great Place to Elliotdale to benefit communities.
Last week, it was reported that the government had injected more than R200-million (including the R127-million) into the Mvezo project in an effort to turn it into a tourist attraction.
To date, none of the 50 rondavels built at a cost of R48-million have been used. It was not clear what some of the bigger thatched structures were meant to be used for.
Asked what happened to Kiviet’s promise, provincial government spokesman Sizwe Kupelo referred questions to the provincial Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) and the Department of Roads and Public Works.
Cogta spokesman Mamnkeli Ngam also referred questions to the roads department.
Roads and Public Works spokesman Mphumzi Zuzile said the department had no budget for Kiviet’s road.
“However, the department is working on another road linking Elliotdale to Mthatha.”
He said this road would link eMadwaleni Hospital with Elliotdale as part of a plan to maintain all the roads leading to hospitals and clinics.
Asked if there was a plan to construct the road from Mvezo to Elliotdale, Zuzile said: “Until there is a plan or design to say how much it would cost, anything said would just be a thumbsuck. It is not in the department’s plan.”
However, he said the R127-million had been meant to include budget set aside for Mvezo, and the bridge to include construction of a further 7km linking King Buyelekhaya Dalindyebo’s Bumbane Great Place to Mvezo.
National Public Works spokesman Thami Mchunu said he would respond to questions today.