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01/06/2016: Mayor Tau officially opens Naledi-Protea North Bridge
01 June 2016
It used to take 68-year-old Protea North, Soweto, resident Muriel Shabangu an extra 10km to travel to her relatives in Emndeni across the railway line in her 12-year-old Toyota Tazz.
 
On Tuesday Shabangu was among dozens of Soweto women who ululated and waved their brooms as Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Parks Tau officially opened the R65-million Naledi-Protea North Bridge. 
 
The bridge, which took almost two years to build, significantly cuts the travelling time between Naledi and Protea North, two townships that are within shouting distance of each other but were, until now, worlds apart, separated by the Naledi-Johannesburg railway line.
 
In 2014, Mayor Tau turned the sod on the site to signal the start of the construction of a bridge that would bridge that divide. On Tuesday, he returned to the site to be met by appreciative residents, who were relieved at the completion of the project.
 
“Many people have lost their precious lives trying to cross the railway line to get to Protea North and vice versa," Cllr Tau said. "This bridge now bridges the gap between the two communities and minimises the 10km that people would normally travel to only 500m.”
 
He said people who had never experienced the inconvenience of travelling between Protea North and Naledi would not understand the importance of the bridge. “For the City, delivery matters. It’s important for us to deliver to those who need the services the most,”” the Mayor said. He said Johannesburg was a city at work.
 
“Today, we are here to open the bridge but we also want to commit that we are here to serve you. You have entrusted us to serve you and that’s what we will do.” 
 
Member of the Mayoral Committee for Transport Cllr Christine Walters said the Johannesburg Roads Agency had spent R500-million on developing roads in Soweto. 
 
“We plead with community members to ensure that there’s no speeding on the bridge. That’s the reason we put humps,” said Cllr Walters. 
 
Community member Buti Masothe said it was a proud moment for residents of Naledi and Protea North.
 
“Many of our loved ones have lost their lives crossing the railway line. Today I’d like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Mayor Tau. You are the servant of the people, continue serving people because we appreciate that,” said Masothe.
 
 
ENDS
 
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Last Updated on 07 June 2016