New bridge for Ha-Jimisi

New bridge for Ha-Jimisi

MAZENOD-SINCE settling in Ha-Jimisi about three decades ago, Francis Mosebi has used innovation to cross the Maluba-Lube River when it flooded. He had no choice because his pension money and other essential items are on the other side of the river.

“Sometimes we used horses but it was still risky,” said the 78-year old. Due to his old age and long distance involved, Mosebi could not use an alternative route where people used a perilous bridge made from poplar poles by villagers.
But after decades of agony, life could change for Ha-Jimisi villagers though after Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro promised to build a bridge for them.
“I hope he will do as promised,” said Mosebi.

Prime Minister Majoro officiated at a ground-breaking ceremony for the building of the bridge last week. He said he had been aware of the cries by local MP Nkaku Kabi for a bridge since 2017.
The planned construction of the bridge over Maluba-Lube River is part of Operation Phau Mangetse, launched last week after the state of emergency declared by the Prime Minister in mid-February following heavy rains that destroyed infrastructure such as bridges.

The project is named after the late famo music pioneer Forere Motloheloa, who was better known as Phau Mangetse. A task force of ministers established for the task “worked hard in a rush as rains eroded croplands and destroyed graveyards, destroyed roads and bridges”, said Dr Majoro. “We wanted to help Basotho and it was a success working in collaboration with (Local Government) councillors,” Majoro said.

Although the new push to repair the country’s infrastructure has excited villagers such as Mosebi, it will take some waiting for the projects to come to fruition. For example, the planned bridge over Maluba-Lube River is expected to take between six to eight months to complete, according to Seboka Thamae, the Roads Directorate Director General.

Public Works Minister Lebohang Monaheng said Ha-Jimisi villagers should count themselves fortunate that they were going to benefit from Operation Phau Mangetse.
“It is a big project that needs understanding and Ha-Jimisi residents should consider themselves lucky because it is happening in their area,” Monaheng said.

Qeme MP, Nkaku Kabi, said locals were beginning to lose faith before the latest initiative. Kabi, who is also the Minister of Water, said he had been pestering the Public Works Ministry for a bridge in the area “for years” and locals had at times taken matters into their own hands.
At one time, they bought culverts but there was no progress because the voluntary contractor they were relying on for construction work could not do the work.

“We couldn’t force him. We asked for his mercy and we couldn’t do anything,” he said. He said the last attempt by villagers to build the bridge on their own was affected by the recent heavy rains.
’Malitšitso Kutumela chairman of the Mohlakeng Local Government Council, under which Ha-Jimisi falls, said she was “grateful that the mouth of the kettle is now facing to us”.

“We have been suffering for years because of this evil river which swept people away and stop others from doing their tasks,” Kutumela said. But some, such as local villager ’Mamotsoso Mokhafi are not as optimistic, recalling empty promises have been made since 2015.
“That promise was never fulfilled. Maybe this time around things will work out for the better but there is still little hope that they will fulfil their promise now,” she said.

’Mapule Motsopa

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