Pondo agree to N2 extension
The Pondo people and their traditional leadership agreed to an extension of the N2 national road, the rural development department said.
Spokesman Mtobeli Mxotwa said that the Pondo unanimously agreed to the plans to extend the N2 to run along the coast from East London to Durban at a public meeting.
"The Pondo chiefs, supported by their subjects, emphasised that the road project should urgently bring about the needed development, business and employment to their impoverished area."
Rural Development Minister Gugile Nkwinti organised the meeting, which was held in Flagstaff, Eastern Cape, on Saturday, so that he could speak to the kings, chiefs, mayors, councillors and organised business from all the districts of Pondoland.
Nkwinti, who chairs the presidential infrastructure co-ordinating committee, is responsible for strategic integrated projects three, which covers infrastructure roll out for the province.
These Eastern Cape infrastructure projects include the construction of dams in the Mzimvubu River and the construction of the N2 Highway to Durban.
Nkwinti said at the meeting that he also wanted a political management committee to be established to drive the N2 project.
He also wanted input from the Pondo people on what kinds of development they wanted in their area.
The Pondo leadership said the N2 project should foster employment and prosperity in their area.
Pondo King Zanozuko Tyelovuyo Sigcawu would lead the political management committee.
The province's MECs for rural development, public works and roads, the two district mayors, mayors of the local municipalities, delegates from organised business and traditional leaders would sit on this committee.
"The Pondo leadership called on the national government to upgrade the Pondoland roads that would lead to the N2 highway," Mxotwa said.
Nkwinti assured home owners, whose properties would be affected by the construction of N2 highway, would be compensated for their homes and properties.
"The construction of the N2 highway has previously received some resistance from some of the Pondo people, notably the home owners who had been told that they would have to relocate," Mxotwa said.
This resistance had included legal action.