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‘Bridge without river’ built in the Philippines – not for R56m in South Africa

A meme posted on Facebook in South Africa shows a bridge on a tarred road spanning ... nothing, it seems.

“River to be added later,” the text reads. “56 million Rand tender, viva ANC.”

The ANC is the African National Congress, South Africa’s ruling party. Does the photo show a useless bridge built where there was no river, by a contractor who won a R56 million government tender?

Bridge over underground water source

The meme was posted on 22 September 2020, but a Tineye reverse image search shows that the photo has been online since 2016.

And a Google reverse image search reveals it was taken in the Philippines, not South Africa.

The photo appears in an article on the SunStar Philippines news site, published on 24 April 2016 and headlined: “DPWH Southern Leyte defends 'bridge without river' project”. The article is credited to the government-run Philippine News Agency.

The photo shows a slab bridge built on the Bato-Bontoc road near Pacu village in Bontoc, Southern Leyte in the Philippines. It was built in 2013 to cross a fault line and underground water source.

‘Continuous heavy rains’

According to the article, the Department of Public Works and Highways Southern Leyte District Engineering Office “called on netizens to be more responsible in posting photos of government projects, as it defended a ‘bridge without a river’ project that has gone viral on social media”.

It quotes district engineer Margarita Junia as saying the bridge was built after “numerous reblocking, embankment and slope protection projects implemented in this particular section in the past have been destroyed every time continuous heavy rains occur”.

The photo apparently went viral again in October 2019, prompting the Philippines’ GMA News TV channel to tweet a video explaining why the bridge was built.

 The bridge is in the Philippines, not South Africa, as can be seen on Google Street View. – Africa Check


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