Construction work on the advance infrastructure at Polihali and Katse – part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project Phase II – are set to commence on 9 January 2019, following the award of an approximately M394 million contract to a joint venture of WBHO of South Africa and LSP Construction (Pty) Ltd, a Lesotho-registered company.

At Polihali, where the  Phase II Polihali Dam is to be built,  the scope of work includes earthworks and the creation of platforms for buildings, water and wastewater systems, landfill, roads, drainage, electrical and telecommunications networks.

At Katse village, the village built in Phase I to accommodate consultants and contractors working on the Project, the works cover the upgrade of existing water and wastewater systems, a landfill site, as well as roads and utilities.

 “The contract award is in line with the approved procurement policy and the provisions of the Phase II Agreement which advocate equal sharing of the  monetary value of infrastructure works between Lesotho- and South African- registered contractors,” explained Refiloe Tlali, the LHDA’s Chief Executive.

“It’s taken years of planning and preparation to get to this point, but come January 2019, with this second construction contract following that of the Polihali North East Access Road just recently awarded, construction vehicles will move on to site demonstrating that Phase II’s seven-year construction period has started, bringing closer to reality the eagerly anticipated employment opportunities that the project brings,” she added. “This is what we have been waiting for.”

The civils works and utilities contract is one of the several critical advance infrastructure components which must be completed before the construction of the main Phase II works, namely the Polihali Dam, the Transfer Tunnel and the hydropower generation plant.

Construction of this contract is expected to take a little over two years.

The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) recently appointed Gauteng-based GA Environment (Pty) Ltd as Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) auditors for the Advance Infrastructure works. The contract commenced in early September and runs for three years.

The auditing of all activities in terms of the SHEQ Management Framework is in keeping with LHDA’s commitment to good governance, transparency and the ethical delivery of the Project.

 Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project builds on the successful completion of Phase I in 2003. It delivers water to the Gauteng region of South Africa and utilises the water delivery system to generate hydro-electricity for Lesotho. Phase II will increase the current supply rate of 780 million cubic metres per annum incrementally to more than 1 270 million cubic metres per annum. At the same time, it will increase the quantity of electricity generated in Lesotho and is a further step in the process of securing an independent electricity source to meet Lesotho’s domestic requirements.