Maputo — Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Thursday pledged that the government will honour its promise to build a new bridge over the Incomati river to facilitate access to the town of Magude, in Maputo province.
Speaking at a rally in the administrative post of Panjane in Magude district, Nyusi said the bridge will be about 500 metres long and will cost 25 million US dollars.
The promise to build the bridge was made some years ago, but problems concerning the financial crisis facing Mozambique obliged the government to alter its list of priorities for financing.
"We had to re-orient the few resources we had", said the President. "Now we are organising ourselves to build the bridge. We are raising the funds needed".
"We haven't forgotten the bridge", he stressed. "We are never going to run away from problems because we don't want to be a problem".
The residents of Magude town have asked repeatedly for a new bridge since the existing one is both a road and a rail bridge, and is too small. It has just one lane, so when vehicles enter the town, others cannot leave, and vice versa. When trains approach, the bridge is completely closed to vehicles.
Nyusi explained to his audience that the government had used its few resources for such initiatives as building boreholes for water supply, since Magude district is prone to drought.
People at the rally also asked the President to reopen the border post with South Africa at Mapulanguene, and to pave the road from Magude town to Mapulanguene. The road is in poor condition, and Magude residents believe that a better road would facilitate trade across the South African border. Nyusi replied that Mozambique cannot unilaterally open a border post with South Africa.
Members of the public also asked for a district hospital. Nyusi assured them that Magude is among the first 15 districts that will benefit from hospitals under the "One District, One Hospital" initiative that he had launched the previous day. The Magude district hospital could be ready within 20 months.