By Langa Bodlani MPL, DA Limpopo Spokesperson on Infrastructure:
I have today submitted an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to Fetakgomo Municipal Manager, Mr. Matumane, to access the environmental impact assessment study which should have been conducted when the bridge in Ward 6 Ga-Nchabeleng was planned to be built. This assessment must exist, and be available, before the project can commence.
This contentious bridge, opposed to by community leaders, will start adjacent to the royal council and will cross to the community cemetery. This defies logic.
In Magothwaneng, still in ward 6 there are no less than 3 schools including a primary school where learners have to cross over a river to get to school. Old age pensioners need to cross this river to access pay-points. There are already instances of fatalities of people trying to cross over this river. This is where the construction of a bridge should have been prioritised.
A bridge over to a cemetery should come secondarily.
The DA has already written to the municipal manager to request this environmental study – which should have been completed after affected communities being widely consulted – but the municipality has failed to provide the written assessment documents.
This creates the very real suspicion that the municipality failed to consult with the community as required by the law but instead went ahead to placate, as it is alleged, the royal council in the area.
Any government information should be in the public domain to enable the communities to assess how government decisions are reached. Cloaking such information in secrecy goes against our constitutional democracy.
Without this substantive consultation, the construction of this bridge must be halted until proper procedures are followed.