The road to prosperity

The road to prosperity

BUTHA-BUTHE-THIS is a village in which pregnant women have been walking long distances to deliver for years.
This is the same village where people in Makhoakhoa and Likila still rely on cattle to transport water from sources kilometers away.
All this is set to change, after a Chinese-owned company won a tender to build a road in one of the poorest districts of Lesotho.

The China-Geo Engineering won the Marakabei-Mononts’a road construction project worth a staggering M925 million.
The Marakabei-Mononts’a road (B16) forms an international link between Lesotho and South-Africa, in the north-eastern reaching Butha-Buthe district.

The road also acts as a “Collector route” for large settlements along the Mohokare or Caledon River such as Ha Paramente, Ha Poosho, Makhunoane, Ha Mabine, Qholaqhoe, Ha Lepatoa, Mechechane, Ha Napo, Saballa, Libono Camp connecting them with Butha-Buthe district headquarters.
“Road construction is the backbone of the country’s economy, because movement becomes easy and businesses run freely too,” said Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, promising the community a massive improvement in public transport.

Residents hope the project, if implemented, will improve their lives.
In the absence of a reliable road network, women and the elderly have to endure long distances to the nearest medical facility or other services.
Perennial water scarcity means villagers have to get used to ox-drawn modes of transport to move water and other basics.

Tsebe Parament, a resident in Ha Paramente, said it pained him watching old women walking for kilometers with buckets of water on their heads.
He said he usually asks his children to carry the water for the elderly women.
The area is famous for intensive crop farming of maize, sorghum and wheat and said villagers could do better if they did not have to walk long distances just to fetch water to irrigate crops.

The upgrading of the road is aimed to have a direct impact on more than 100 000 livelihoods, including the creation of 600 new jobs, according to Minister of Public works and Transport Prince Maliehe.
Upon its completion, the road will further impact on the Mokhotlong and Leribe districts as transportation to and from neighbouring South Africa will become relatively more efficient and easier.
The project, which includes a 60 kilometre stretch with double lanes, will help farmers with easier access t markets for their produce.

The works will include the construction of a new vehicular bridge across the Hololo River and construction of border crossing facilities at Mononts’a Border Post.
Butha-Buthe District Administration Lehlohonolo Qhasho thanked transport operators who endured the existing bad road network to ferry passengers.

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Mechachane constituency, Nyapane Kaya promised that electricity will be installed once the road works were completed.
Kaya said at least 30 percent of the jobs would be reserved for locals.

Tokase Mphutlane

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