Children cross the Msunduzi to get to school

There are plans for a bridge but no timeframe

By Nompendulo Ngubane

15 July 2020

Every day people cross the river between two sections of KwaShange in Pietermaritzburg. Photo: Nompendulo Ngubane

Four school children take off their socks and shoes and roll up their trousers in Henley, Pietermaritzburg. They, like many learners in the area, would have to cross a river every day to get to school. The youngest brother is carried. Sometimes they skip classes when the river is too full or too slippery.

“The problem is when it’s raining we can’t use the river because it floods. It is scary. We use the other route which takes longer especially when one is walking,” says one of the learners, Sboniso Dladla.

The Msunduzi River separates KwaShange and KwaShange 2, home to over 800 households.

Cars also routinely cross the river. Resident Sbongile Dlamini said once a car was washed away.

“We have been living in this area for years … We need a bridge, proper roads,” said Dlamini.

Ward 4 Councillor Mlungisi Zondi said the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) of Msunduzi municipality includes a bridge. “It’s not something we can say is going to happen now. There is a need for a bridge since the number of residents has increased. It is the same thing with the roads. Some of the roads are being fixed already.”

Msunduzi municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the municipality has had discussions with the ward councillor. She confirmed that the bridge is included in the IDP.