IMG_20160303_085137Mopani Copper Mines Plc (Mopani) has partnered with the Copperbelt Energy Corporation Plc (CEC) and Copperbelt Development Foundation Limited (CDFL) to repair a bridge across Kitwe’s Mwekera stream, which was washed away during the 2015/2016 rainy season.

The bridge is an essential piece of infrastructure for the predominantly small farming community in the area as it is their main link to the central business district. The repair works at the bridge are estimated at a total cost of K1.7 million.

The three companies have since signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will see Mopani contribute 66.1 percent of the total budget with CEC and CDFL meeting 9.7 percent and 24.2 percent, respectively.

Construction has since commenced with the piling works, which are currently at 67 percent, whilst the fabrication works for the bridge have already been completed. The bridge foundation and installation are scheduled to start on 14th June, 2016 and all works are expected to be completed by 27th July, 2016, all things being equal.IMG_20160303_085121

The repair works on the bridge include fabricating frames for the bridge structure, casting concrete works for the foundations and installing handrails on either side of the bridge.

Mopani’s contribution, valued at K1.1million includes the piling, civil and mechanical works as well as provision of equipment and technical services such as designing, drawings, bills of quantities and supervision; while CEC’s contribution of K160,000.00 and CDFL’s K400,000.00 will largely go towards civil and mechanical works.

The Mwekera Bridge is located in Zamtan area off the Kitwe-Ndola highway, about 700 metres from the Kitwe police check-point and is accessed by more than 5,000 residents of Kitwe East from Kakolo, Mufuchani and Kamfinsa communities.

According to Alinani Simumba, a resident and frequent user of the bridge, the absence of the bridge in the area since the beginning of 2016 has affected the entire local population which includes small scale farmers, school children, a faith-based orphanage/school run by the Baptist Church, and Umozi Home-Based Care who work with people living with HIV.

“The damaged bridge has had a negative impact on the community not only in terms of access to schools, medical services and basic needs but also the livelihoods and safety of the community; more so in the likely event of a life-threatening emergency,” explained Mr. Simumba.

He disclosed that the residents had sought help from various organisations and government departments since February 2016 but nothing came forth until the three companies came on board.

Under the MoU, the three companies have agreed to pool their resources and efforts to accomplish the project’s objective of building a bridge over the Mwekera stream.

The MoU states in part that: “Each of the parties possesses certain assets, abilities, specific expertise or other valuable tangible or intangible assets which it is prepared to place at the disposal of the joint project.”

The collaboration is testimony to how the three companies value relationships with the communities in their areas of operation as well as a demonstration of their corporate social responsibility and commendable ability to come together to serve a greater good.