Dear Editor,

The article published in your January 2001 edition and headed ‘Postcards from Africa’, with the subtitle ‘A tour of lahmeyer International’s many hydro projects around Africa’, gave a strong impression that the Katse dam was one of those many projects. This was due to the detailed information included in the article about the design and construction phase of the dam — with which Lahmeyer International was not involved.

I am sure that Lahmeyer International, with whom our company associates on other projects around the world, would not wish to perpetuate any unintentional false impression given by the article in the absence of any credits to the actual design and construction supervision consultant.

Accordingly I provide the following facts to set the record straight.

Lahmeyer International’s involvement in Katse dam was for feasibility studies in relation to the overall Lesotho Highlands scheme, when various dam sites and dam design options were considered.

After the initial feasibility phase, consultancy contracts were awarded to the Lesotho Highlands Consultants for the preliminary design of Katse dam, the detailed design and then the final design and construction supervision of Katse dam. Lesotho Highlands Consultants have thus been responsible for all phases of the Katse dam project after initial feasibility up to completion and commissioning, while technical and contractual services are continuing at the present time.

Lesotho Highlands Consultants is a joint venture comprising three European companies and three South African companies namely: SOGREAH (France), coyne-et-bellier (France), Sir Alexander Gibb and Partners (UK), Ninham Shand (RSA), Knight Piésold (RSA) and Keeve Steyn (RSA).

I would also wish to draw attention to the text within the same article about the Muela dam and the references therein to the transfer tunnel which connects the Katse reservoir to Muela. Again for the record, the design and construction supervision of the 45km transfer tunnel was also the responsibility of the Lesotho Highlands Consultants after the initial feasibility studies until completion and commissioning.

I feel that I would be failing my many colleagues within Lesotho Highlands Consultants if I did not seek to correct the false impression given by the article. The staff from the parent companies of the joint venture and our Basotho staff committed many years of their lives to these projects. The credit they deserve for their professionalism and dedication should not be diffused in any way.

I attach a photograph of the completed Katse dam during a spillway discharge which occurred in the first year after completion of the dam. The successful filling of the reservoir, so soon after completion, epitomised the success of a difficult but fulfilling project for the Lesotho Highlands Consultants’ staff.

Yours sincerely