I am pleased to announce that early progress has been made thanks to the generous donation made by Gerrie, Johan and Charl Griffioen, having sent up an articulated loader to undertake some of the larger repair work. The 14 ton machine works at an unbelievable rate and in only two days has removed a large part of Demoina dam wall and stock piled it for later use and has constructed a ramp out each end for the tipper truck to gain access for loading. The loader has also completely filled and compacted the breach in Henshaw’s dam wall. We will still use our smaller (more delicate) equipment to smoothen out the edges and to do the final surface preparation. Between the tipper truck, the loader and the tractors, I imagine that we should be able to continue making good progress.
Unfortunately the field squad are still frantically trying to replace lost fences and will be for a while still. Once completed, we will begin with road repairs. In the mean-time, the loader will begin preparing the banks at the new Mohlabetsi crossing. Gerrie, Johan and I are concerned that the crossing will continuously be washed away if we simply grade a road through the river bed, which incidentally is currently under 3 feet of water. The problem lies in that the original crossing (Nthaba) lies on a dolerite dyke, which tends to dam the water up on the Jejane side (which only has a sand base). Our feelings are that a concrete base needs to be laid down which could then be gravel packed. In the mean-time and with the help of two of Nyala’s staff members, we have managed to access the eastern side of the Mohlabetsi by rock packing and then gravel capping the existing Nyala crossing. Hopefully we can continue to use this crossing until such time as Nyala and Inkonkoni have constructed an effective crossing at the chosen site between Jejane and Inkonkoni. The loader will then spend time on Inkonkoni doing repairs to dams, roads and river crossings. Once back on Jejane, the loader will continue to break down Demoina dam wall and loading the tipper truck. It can also be used to clear river crossings, etc.