Access to water a luxury for Ha Mantšebo and Ha Makhalanyane residents
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By Lineo Ramatlapeng
Thirsty residents of Ha Mantšebo and Ha Makhalanyane areas say a promise for water connections to their homes by water Minister Nkaku Kabi is like a much-cherished gift they never thought would be coming their way so soon.
An enormous high-pressure water pipeline passes through both Ha Mantšebo and Ha Makhalanyane to feed more populous Maseru City Council and other satellite towns like Morija and Matsieng.
But as the pipe passes through these water-thirsty areas, it originally did not even provide a drop of water amid acute water shortages and that only changed when members of these communities in illegally installed their own communal taps from these high-pressure pipes.
Ha-Makhalanyane Mohlakeng village resident ’Malerato Tsieng said Kabi’s promise will make their lives easier as they will not have to worry about walking long distances to fetch water.
“We have been waiting for this moment all our lives and now it’s finally happening,” said a jubilant Tsieng.
Tsieng said the hardest thing is when they have to go to fetch water from the communal taps they installed along the pipeline and it is during cold winter days or summer rains.
“In a household of about 5 or more people, it’s likely to go to fetch water almost daily because water is life and we do almost everything with it,” Tsieng told KDNews.
A Ha-Mantsebo Ha Mpo villager Malerama Mpo said theirs has been a very dire situation of scarcity of water so much that it has taken them about 10 years living without water.
Mpo said they used to have a natural spring called ‘ntsokotsane’ which is now of no use to them as it has gone dry.
She said they ended turning to crime as they had to find water by any means necessary and “we made holes in the pipeline to Morija town in order for us to have access to water. We did that because we had no choice. But later on, those pipes ended not benefiting us because their water flow wasn’t like it used to when we first started”.
Mpo said they kept hoping that they will be connected to the water pipeline officially since they had already tried to do so illegally and caused more harm than good but nothing happened.
She said amid having come up with an illegal solution, they still had to walk a long distance to those pipes which are situated at Ha Mohasa.
Mpo said their struggle for water was not in vain as they have finally been heard.
“Our situation was that of a people that are not only neglected but forgotten and we were dying of thirst,” said Mpo.
Another resident Maseipati ’Malikhetla said they are very happy as residents of Ha Mpo and that they hope their children will be employed by the water installation contractor engaged by the Ministry of water for the provision of water to their homes in their villages.
For his part, water commissioner Mokake Mojakisane said “water is a necessity and not a luxury”.
Mojakisane said Lesotho like other countries has vowed that by 2030, “every Mosotho will be drinking clean and boundless water”.
Mojakisane said among many plans, the government is working with the Lesotho Lowlands Water Development Supply department to ensure that it meets its access to water commitments and has already started working now that the Metolong dam is operational.
Metolong water project, Mojakisane said the water pipes were planted to distribute water to Maseru, Morija, Teya-Teyaneng and connected these pipes to distribute to the villages around the main pipes.
Mojakisane said the Prime Minister was to launch the water which was connected from the main pipes to village taps which were community taps for households in Ha-Makhalanyane.
Malikhetla added that they resented their constituency representative, Minister Kabi as the minister of water but not prioritizing them yet he knew their dire situation but all is forgiven now that he finally delivered water to them.
Kabi introduced the 3 construction companies that will be working to bring water in each household from Ha-Motemekoane to Ha-Teko.
After five months, Kabi said he is expecting to return to Qeme to find taps with water.
He added that this project will be under the community council in the area and not the water and sewage company.
“We will hire people who will work on that through the council who will look into water bills and meters or anything related to the project post-construction,” said Kabi.