Umphakatsi Representative and community leaders present,
Representatives from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport,
The Honorable Member of Parliament- Mr. Manzi Zwane,
Indvuna Yenkhundla and Bucopho present,
Project Chairperson – Dr. Bafana Dlamini,
The project team,
Eswatini Royal Police force,
And the community at large,
Kuyangijabulisa kuba nani namuhla (I am delighted to be here with you today) as we celebrate the completion of the re-gravelling of a one-kilometer road. The effects of climate change are all around us while the combination of drought and a cyclone hit hard right here several years ago.
I think we all agree with me that the presence of good roads is key to development. Without good roads, it is difficult for people to access schools, clinics, police stations, shopping centres and other important facilities. Bad roads are not only costly to vehicle owners but also contribute to a slow economic growth . . . and they can be deadly!
You will all remember that the damage to the road occurred when the community had just finished constructing a small low-level bridge worth about $3,000. It was a big investment and was a major set -back to the community. This particular one kilometer strip is the major connection between the community, the city, and other nearby areas. The damage caused by heavy rains after Cyclone Louise early in 2021 made it almost impossible to drive through this stretch of road during the rainy season. Vehicles got stuck in the mud and in the huge potholes. Others had to rescue them. The situation was made even worse for school children and the elderly. They had to walk about 1.5 km to catch a taxi at the main road.
Seeing the impact brought about by the damaged road last year, this community did not just sit down and folds its arms, but it took the initiative to mobilize assistance from different partners, including the U.S government. With a grant of about 136,000 Emalangeni, working together the community has made travelling to the main roads easier and more accessible by re-graveling this one kilometer stretch of road. The community has also erected an effective drainage system along the road to allow stormwater to seep through. This is to avoid further damage to the road due to storm water blockages which may occur during the rainy season.
The U.S government is pleased and proud to help communities who invest in themselves. This project has been funded through the U.S. Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program. One of the key strengths of this program is that it requires the community to contribute to its own development.
The contribution can be in monetary terms, materials, or labour. KaShali Zone 3 East community fulfilled this condition by not only contributing funding, but also with manpower.
Look at what you have accomplished, working together! Because of this community’s determination and teamwork, the gravel road is smooth, and the community easily accesses essential facilities and services. School kids and the elderly can now be picked up and dropped off closer to their homes. Vehicles will avoid damage because they are now driving on a smooth road. Since the road has been fixed, the community has seen some families reviving their economic activities and some have upgraded their commercial activities since the road is in a busy place. Well done Kashali Zone 3 East community for upgrading the road!
Just as roads connect communities, dialogue can connect the nation. As we look to the government of the Kingdom of Eswatini to communicate details on preparations for the national dialogue it committed to support, we encourage emaSwati to engage now in meaningful, inclusive, and peaceful community-level dialogue to build understanding and trust. Working together, the citizens of this country can identify shared values and goals, and support a process that will promote healing for the entire country. This is a moment of historic importance in Eswatini.
As I conclude, I would like to encourage KaShali Zone 3 East community members to continue to work together in taking pride in maintaining the road infrastructure and improving the surrounding areas. Continue committing yourselves and working tirelessly in making KaShali Zone 3 East a better place for growth and development. Always remember the African Proverb, ‘If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.
Nginifisela imphumelelo (I wish you success).
Ngiyabonga (Thank you).