SA, Lesotho launch new multi-billion-rand water project
The governments of the Republic of South Africa and the Kingdom of Lesotho recently launched a new R32.5 billion project that will benefit the two countries immensely in respect of water and energy security.
The South African government has tasked TCTA with raising funding for this development, which is Phase 2 of
the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP-2). The project comprises two components: water delivery and a hydro-electricity scheme.
The water delivery component involves the construction of a new Polihali Dam, the Polihali-Katse tunnel and associated infrastructure. The hydroelectricity scheme will enhance the availability of electricity in Lesotho while South Africa will start receiving water from the project in 2026.
On 13 November 2019, Minister of Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation Lindiwe Sisulu and her counterpart from the neighbouring country, Samonyane Ntsekele, presided over a sod-turning ceremony in Mokhotlong, Lesotho. The event included two ceremonial blastings by the two ministers.
In attendance were representatives from TCTA, the local chief and the South African High Commissioner to Lesotho. Lesotho Highlands Development Authority, the Lesotho Highlands Water Commission, the Parliament of Lesotho and the water departments of the two countries were also represented.
Minister Sisulu expressed her appreciation to the Kingdom for the solid partnership that existed between the two countries. “Even in the face of climate change challenges, droughts and uncertainty of weather patterns, the two countries will continue to cooperate for the good of the people we serve,” she said.
As a gesture of goodwill, Minister Sisulu committed to upgrading a school that is close to the project – a commitment that the attendees welcomed by cheering.
This multi-year development project has attracted the interest of just not the Basotho and South Africans but also international funders, other governments in the region and abroad, and the global media. Minister Sisulu said it was, therefore, important that the two countries delivered another successful project as with the first phase.
Political stability in Lesotho was critical and the two governments would continue to support one another in ensuring security in the region as a whole, she added. The successful delivery of this water cooperation agreement was of utmost importance as well.
Ministers Sisulu and Ntsekele
Minister Lindiwe Sisulu and her Kingdom of Lesotho counterpart, Samonyane Ntsekele, participate in ceremonial blasting