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SA President lauds Lesotho Highlands Water Project

SA President lauds Lesotho Highlands Water Project

Apr 2, 2014

In addressing a large group of dignitaries late last month – including His Majesty King Letsie III and Queen Masenate Mohato Seeiso of Lesotho – South African President Jacob Zuma said the construction of Phase II of the project is a “memorable landmark in the growing bilateral cooperation between South Africa and Lesotho”.

President Zuma highlighted the Joint Bilateral Commission for Cooperation (JBCC) signed by South Africa and Lesotho in 2001 and renewed in 2012 to promote political, economic and social cooperation, saying that the two countries have already achieved much. Projects include the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, the Geo-chemical Mapping Project, the Hydrological Project, the Sani Pass Project, and most recently, food security through the World Food Programme (WFP), said the President.

He also pointed out the huge significance of the now-ratified second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, saying that the project represents “a win-win mechanism as it provides needed water to South Africa and creates an opportunity for the required infrastructure development and energy generation in Lesotho”.

The President said: “On the one hand, the two Projects (Phases I and II) will provide Lesotho with a number of benefits. The country will obtain guaranteed royalties’ revenue. There have been benefits of infrastructure development during Phase I which have included 102km of paved roads, 265km of gravel roads, 1,133km of roads rehabilitated to grade 1 standard; 11 bridges built including three bridges between Lesotho and South Africa in Maseru, Maputsoe and Caledonspoort. The benefits also include 299km of power lines, staff housing for an estimated 300 workers as well as Hydro electricity generation estimated at 72 megawatts.

“The building of the Metolong Dam, to which South Africa contributed R50-million, also meets the water needs of the Kingdom of Lesotho. Lesotho has also gained a village and an Information Centre at Metolong. On the other hand, benefits to the Republic of South Africa are also immense. The country gains high quality water transfers and job opportunities. There is improved infrastructure in Clarens, Fouriesburg, Ficksburg and Ladybrand in the form of new border crossings and improved amenities, community halls, clinics, houses and improved rail facilities such as in Ficksburg.”

President Zuma concluded by conveying South Africa’s commitment to the Project, highlighting its significance to both countries.

NOTE: For President Zuma’s speech, click here.

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