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Platjan bridge to boost SPEDU region

The just completed Platjan Bridge is expected to economically boost Selebi Phikwe Economic Diversification Unit (SPEDU) region. 

SPEDU’s Manufacturing and Industry Development manager, Ms Kefilwe Motlhanka said in an interview on August 5, after a tour of the Platjan bridge by the Selebi Town Council leadership, that the bridge which, connects Botswana and South Africa, was complete and ready for use thus expected to bring economic benefits to SPEDU region. 

She said the P105m bridge, which offered the shortest route to South Africa provided an opportunity for growth particularly in the agriculture and tourism sectors. 

Ms Motlhanka said the project entailed mainly the construction of a bridge leaving out the road connecting the region to South African market thus she said SPEDU had requested for funds from European Union to tar the 27km road from Lekkerport Junction to the Platjan Border Post. 

She said SPEDU was doing everything in its power to facilitate economic diversification in the region, adding that a tarred access road to Platjan Border Post would ease movement of goods and services between the two countries. 

“The road was not part of the package therefore we requested funds from EU to construct the road from Lekkerport to the Platjan Border Post. 

We are still awaiting response from the EU,” she said. 

Ms Motlhanke further said the SPEDU region had many big commercial farms in the Thuli Block, which often sourced agricultural inputs from South Africa hence the bridge would improve access into South Africa. 

She said it had been challenging for farmers to source material from South Africa as they were compelled to travel long distance to Martins Drift Border Post in Tswapong and now, Platjan bridge, which crossed over the Limpopo River, would cut the distance short, making it easier and faster to source inputs from South Africa. 

Before, Ms Motlhanke said it was challenging for people in Bobirwa to use Platjan Border Post especially during the rainy season as the river would be overflowing and the old bridge submerged in water. 

“This bridge offers the shortest route to South Africa and will improve trade between the two countries,” 

For his part Estate Construction quantity surveyor, Mr Emmanuel Dziekpor said the project was completed and currently on defects and liability period. 

He said the bridge was open to the public but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the border had been closed. 

Mr Dziekpor said the bridge could accommodate big trucks weighing 30 ton or less. 

He said unlike the old bridge, the new one would not submerged in water during heavy rains. 

Selebi Phikwe Town Council mayor, Mr Lucas Modimana thanked South Africa and Botswana for delivering the project successfully. 

“This is a step in the right direction,” he said. 

He said the bridge played an importance role in making Selebi Phikwe a tourist destination, adding ‘we are yet to come up with tourism projects in Selebi Phikwe, which will not only attract tourists but lure investors to Selebi Phikwe’.  

ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Kgotsofalang Botsang

Location : SELEBI PHIKWE

Event : tour of project

Date : Aug 09 Sun,2020

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