The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) has reaffirmed its commitment to improve the livelihoods of communities affected by the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP).
During a consultative workshop to share the newly approved Phase II Compensation Policy, held in Maseru last week, LHDA CEO Refiloe Tlali noted that the agency had already engaged a consultant to assist with the identification of the livelihood restoration and diversification options that will be planned with affected households and communities from an early stage in the programme.
The second phase of the LHWP entails the construction of the Polihali dam, the wall of which is going to be 165 m high; construction of the 38-km-long tunnel that will transfer water from the Polihali reservoir to the Katse reservoir and construction of the hydropower scheme.
Lesotho Water Affairs Minister Kimetso Mathaba said the compensation policy drew on lessons learned from the first phase of the project, affording considerable time and ample opportunity to all relevant stakeholders to participate in its development.
The policy was approved by both the South African and Lesotho governments.
“I hope policy roll-out will enable participants to share understanding of the document, which will, in turn, bring clarity on issues of compensation that they might have to discuss with communities while providing their oversight responsibilities in the areas that will be affected by the implementation of the project,” said Mathaba.
The workshop was attended by the Principal Chiefs of Mokhotlong and Malingoaneng, Ministers from Mokhotlong constituencies, representatives from the offices of the District Administration and District Councils from Mokhotlong, Leribe and Thaba-Tseka.