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Shallcross community rebuilt bridge washed away by floods

May 18, 2022

By Annisa Essack
18:05:2022

Over a month ago, heavy rains and storms devastated many parts of KwaZulu Natal. The bridge linking Shallcross and Blundell Road was washed away during the torrential rains, when debris lodged against the bridge prevented the Mhlatuzana River from flowing downstream. The blockage caused the water to split and divert to one side of the road whilst washing away part of the road.

Protest action and the damage to exit roads in Shallcross saw the community isolated from the rest of Durban.

Concerned residents of Shallcross and Chatsworth formed the Pompeni River Bridge Project Team to drive an initiative to have the project expedited. Radio Islam International discussed the project with spokespersons for the team, Marcus Richards and Chairperson of the Shallcross Masjid, Kader Goolam.

Kader Goolam says they did have some negative sentiments from the community, but they had decided to get the project done, and they kept to the word.

According to Richards, the plan was hatched by Goolam and Vernon Kisten, another resident informed him about the plan based on a rough drawing, and they realised that it would be best to formalise it. He then consulted a private engineer, who approved the project.

The next step was to contact the ward councillors, Chris Van Den Bergh and Fathima Ismail, who then roped in an engineer, Peter Fenton. After a meeting to discuss the proposals, they were offered limited support and oversight that would ensure the project’s legality.

Goolam says that the community rallied together to provide building materials, machinery and even food to ensure that the bridge was completed. He was very pragmatic in his view, saying that they did not wait for the government to repair the bridge, but took the bulls by the horns and accomplished successful results.

His message to others was that communities should unite and work together to upgrade their communities.

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