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Maseru
February 26, 2024
Development

POLIHALI WORKERS BACK AT WORK

Maseru, Aug.02—Workers at Polihali Dam under the second phase of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) are back at work following their strike which started on July 19.

Speaking in an interview on Wednesday, Lesotho Workers Association (LEWA) Secretary General Mr. Hlalefang Seoaholimo confirmed that the workers have reported back to work  saying this followed the agreement which was reached.

The workers are constructing a road which goes to the dam under HSTY Joint Venture.

He said among the issues agreed on include salary increment as per the minimum wage gazette for 2023/24 which he said will be implemented by end of this month with arrears.

He said  the meal allowance will also increase from M25 a plate to M38.

He added that it was also agreed that other allowances  such as accommodation will be paid as well.

However, he said on the issue that the day’s work starts upon clocking at the camp before heading to the site thus the payment be determined according to the clocking time, he indicated that the agreement was that they approach DDPR for intervention which he said will be today  in the afternoon.

Earlier last month (July) it was reported that South African construction giant, WBHO, has been accused of abusing Basotho who are  hired to work at the multi-billion Polihali Dam project. As a result many Basotho are quitting in frustration.

White managers from WBHO have been accused of engaging in blatant racism, assaults and use of vulgar language against Basotho hired for the construction of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP)’s Polihali Village in Mokhotlong.

The Village will be used to house LHDA staff once completed.

The situation was reported so dire that some of the locals have been forced to resign due to the ill-treatment by some WBHO white senior staff from South Africa.

Meanwhile this is not the first strike as in August 2022,  the same workers went on strike which was suspended after three days. Their grievances were  the same.

Phase II of the Project builds on the successful completion of Phase in 2003. It entails construction of the Polihali Dam, Polihali Transfer Tunnel associated infrastructure and a hydropower scheme at Oxbow in the Botha-Bothe district.

On completion, 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.

Phase II involves construction of a 165m high Polihali concrete-faced rockfill dam, downstream of the confluence of Senqu and Khubelu rivers. A 50m high saddle dam, a 38km long Polihali Transfer Tunnel that will transfer water from the Polihali reservoir to the Katse reservoir.

Ends

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