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Help on way for residents using hosepipe to cross flooded low-lying bridge

People cross a low-lying bridge using a hosepipe in Olievenhoutbosch. Picture: James Mahlokwane

People cross a low-lying bridge using a hosepipe in Olievenhoutbosch. Picture: James Mahlokwane

Published Jan 13, 2022

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Pretoria - Help is under way for Olievenhoutbosch Ext 60 residents after images showing residents using a hosepipe to cross a flooded low-lying bridge circulated on social media.

This prompted an urgent intervention from the Tshwane and Gauteng roads and transport infrastructure departments which saw principals MEC Jacob Mamabolo and his counterpart Dikeledi Selowa visit the township.

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The images show young male adults helping residents cross the bridge with a hosepipe by having people hold the two ends while another person helped them cross the water by holding on to the pipe.

People cross a low-lying bridge using a hosepipe in Olievenhoutbosch. Picture: James Mahlokwane

Residents and ward councillor Thembeni Thabatha told Pretoria News that there were two such bridges in the area and five people have already died trying to cross one of the bridges since the people settled in the area in 2016.

Thabatha said in 2016 a couple died leaving their children as orphans in the community and to date community leaders still assist them with food. Two children died later in 2018 on the same bridge, followed by another adult in 2019.

Informal trader David Pitch and his friends came up with the idea of using an old hosepipe to help people cross the flooded bridge by splitting into two groups that hold the pipe on both ends while they cross.

Pitch helped women and children cross the bridge by helping them hold on to him and the pipe as they braved violent water to make it to the other side of the bridge.

Pitch said: "These bridges get flooded every time we have this kind of heavy rain. We decided to assist our people on this bridge because I sell snacks and cigarettes next to this bridge and I see everything.

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People cross a low-lying bridge using a hosepipe in Olievenhoutbosch. Picture: James Mahlokwane

"To see the MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo come all the way here to commend what we do really touched us and motivated us. It is clear everybody does not want lives being lost here. We are also happy he brought engineers here to assess the bridge and explain what could be done to improve this structure."

Mamabolo said his department would engage the City of Tshwane's Roads and Transport Department and Selowa on the measures of intervention the City is going to implement and where the provincial government could assist because they had a good working relationship and have worked together to maintain roads and fix potholes through the Smart Mobility 2030 Vision.

"This river was overflowing and in the images there were people who were using that hosepipe to cross, I immediately realised that this means a huge risk to human life.

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MEC for Public Transport and Roads Infrastructure Jacob Mamabolo and other officials examine the hosepipe being used to cross a river. Picture: James Mahlokwane

“It was very important to respond promptly and swiftly to the outcry by community members and leaders about the threat to human life by this river.

"I am told that already five people lost their lives trying to cross the river on the other side. We cannot afford to lose more lives. That is why something has to be done, and done urgently. I will be engaging the City of Tshwane on an urgent temporary solution while we work on a long term solution."

Pretoria News

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