Thaba-Tseka’s treacherous roads

Thaba-Tseka’s treacherous roads

MASERU – In Thaba-Tseka, treacherous roads are turning driving into a brave act. One has to navigate deep potholes that litter the roads, at the same time making sure to avoid the loose gravel ends that can land the vehicle into a gorge. And then there are the wild animals to contend with. Several accidents recorded in recent years attest the grave danger posed by poorly maintained roads in this area, not least the death of 26 youths who perished when the truck they were travelling in rolled over a precipice.

Most roads in the district are recommended for all terrain vehicles only, although it still remains risky business driving out here. Dirty gravel roads meander through mountains as high as 4 000 metres. Others snake on the slopes of a range of mountains. Take the 60 kilometre road from Thaba-Tseka town to Katse Dam. Drivers have to keep an eye out for animals and bumps caused by uneven wear, potholes caused by soil erosion and loose gravel at the edges of the road.

In some parts, the road is narrow and steep and has no guardrails to prevent vehicles from falling to into a gorge. This is the same picture on roads leading to Leribe, Mokhotlong and Qacha’s Nek. There is only one tarred road in the district leading to Maseru. The District Administrator for Thaba-Tseka, Masheane Rapholo, told thepost that “a lot” still needs to be done to upgrade a road between Thaba-Tseka and Katse.

So life threatening is the situation that Deputy Minister for Public Works Tšehlo Ramarou was forced to address the issue in Parliament last week. During the question and answer session, Ramarou said the ministry is aware of the necessity for a network of tarred roads in the district. Ramarou said a feasibility study for a road connecting Thaba-Tseka and Qacha’s Nek, has been partly done and construction has now started with the help of the Chinese.

Ramarou said plans are afoot to revamp the road network. The plans, Ramarou said, include the construction of a road between Thaba-Tseka and Katse. “The ministry has already been given money for feasibility study of the road from Thaba- Tseka to Katse in the financial year 2018/2019 to enable the construction of the road,” Ramarou said. For many locals, his words do not inspire confidence. After all, 12 years after the completion of a feasibility study for a road connecting Thaba-Tseka and Mokhotlong, the villagers are still waiting for work to start.

Thooe Ramolibeli

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