Showdown over Metolong
‘If we can’t have the water, then no one else should. We will dig up the pipes and shut down
HA MOTLOHELOA villagers are threatening to “destroy” the Metolong Dam project unless government allows them unrestricted access to the water “as a matter of urgency”.
The dam, built in Thaba-bosiu on the South Phuthiatsana River about 35 kilometres from Maseru, was completed this year to augment water supplies to Mazenod, Morija, Teyateyaneng, Roma and Maseru.
Construction of the giant project commenced in 2008 through funding from the governments of Lesotho and South Africa, European Investment Bank, Saudi Fund for Development, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, OPEC Fund for International Development, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the US Millennium Challenge Corporation and the World Bank.
However, residents of Ha Motloheloa village, through which the water-pipes pass, are not happy that government has allegedly reneged on its promise to provide them with water from the dam.
The villagers have since started vandalising the pipes and related infrastructure to access the water, and on Tuesday threatened “a complete shutdown” of the project unless government makes Ha Motloheloa a beneficiary of the multimillion-maloti project “as promised in 2013”.
The deal, the villagers told the Lesotho Times, was allegedly reached at after residents had denied workers laying the pipes access to their fields unless the government included them among the project’s beneficiaries.
According to the villagers, under the verbal agreement, they were supposed to start accessing the water in August this year but this date was moved to October. They fur-
ther claim government postponed the date again, this time to March 2016, which they said was unacceptable hence their decision to vandalise the infrastructure and illegally ac-
cess the water.
Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) and Metolong officials have been fixing the damaged infrastructure, but the villagers
continue to destroy it and accessing the water. The first illegal access point was next to
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