National 8.9.2016 11:57 am

Mysterious bridge divides free-flowing Letaba River

The Letaba River's water at the bridge foundation is blocked by plant material. Picture: Letaba Herald.

The Letaba River's water at the bridge foundation is blocked by plant material. Picture: Letaba Herald.

On one side of the bridge that crosses the Letaba River from Tzaneen to Letsitele, the water runs freely, while on the other side, the river looks dry and empty.

Drivers and pedestrians crossing the bridge over the Letaba River on the way to Letsitele from Tzaneen, in Limpopo, have been noticing a strange phenomenon in the waters, reports the Letaba Herald.

The free flowing river on one side of the bridge. Picture: Letaba Herald.

The free-flowing river on one side of the bridge. Picture: Letaba Herald.

Looking to the left, one will find that the river is flowing rapidly, but on the right, when travelling back to Tzaneen, the river looks dry, empty and covered in thick layers of plant material.

A variety of explanations for the cause of this phenomenon has circulated among the local people, ranging from black magic ceremonies being performed under the bridge, to the management of the lodge deliberately blocking up the river to chase away the fishermen.

However, it has been established that the river has been struggling throughout the droughts lately, and the current water level barely covers the foundations of the bridge itself. This causes the Hyacinths and other plant life to block up at the base of the bridge, allowing the water to flow through underneath while leaving thick layers of material to collect on the surface.

Alfie Viljoen, manager of the Letaba Junction, stated they have sought out ways to clear the river, and the government authorities have provided several drums of chemical treatment for the plants, but access to the centre of the river has proven too hazardous to achieve success. He also mentioned that he has been given a rough estimation of the costs to mechanically remove the blockage, but the total adds up to between R150 000 and R200 000.

The best solution to the problem will be a gradual increase of the water levels to unclog the river naturally.

The hippos still, however, make their daily appearances in the river.

Caxton News Service

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