Maseru, Feb.20—Over two years since the access bridge at Ha-Tsunyane linking White City (Litenteng) village to other villages collapsed and the government has still not done anything. The Agency has discovered.
Days after the incident in December 2020, the Office of the Maseru District Council together with Disaster Management Authority (DMA) visited the area to inspect the damage.
Then the villagers made a temporary structure while they await for the government to construct the access bridge. However with the current heavy rains, the said temporary structure is each day deteriorating as the soil beneath it seems to be eroding. Thus leaving the community in fear that if the rain continues the temporary structure which is hanging by the thread might collapse and endanger lives.
Speaking in an interview, one of the community members Mr. Khauta Mochesane who is also physically disabled (wheelchair user) told the Agency that it is very risky that they are using the temporary structure which he said might collapse anytime if the rain continues.
He called on the government to assist them and ensure that the new bridge is constructed before any danger befalls them.
Another villager Mr. Lillane Lillane reiterated saying that they are still using the temporary structure as it is the only option especially with vehicles. He however indicated that they always pray before crossing.
He stated that they made the temporary structure with the hope that by now the government would have constructed a new bridge.
Moreover, Manonyane Community Council Chairperson Mr. Mathibeli Ramaliehe said that since this was an emergency or disaster, DMA came for assessment therefore it is a known fact even to the government that the area needs a bridge.
He indicated that as the Council there is nothing they can do at the moment because of financial constraints. He added that currently all Councils’ projects have been halted and machinery (yellow plant) returned to District Council for maintenance.
On the other hand, Maseru District Council Secretary (DCS) Mr. Ts’ekelo Sekike said that they submitted a consolidated report to the DMA after assessment as that was considered a disaster. He said that they are still waiting for a way forward regarding the matter.
However DMA Information Officer Ms. Mahlape Koali indicated that she will find out how far the matter is and give feedback once have something.
Meanwhile in March 2021, the former Prime Minister, Dr Moeketsi Majoro launched the programme called ‘Operation Phau Manyetse’ to rebuild all bridges and roads that were damaged by heavy rains under the DMA.
The cost of the damage by the rains then was estimated at about M400 million. The M23 million was for food security to compensate farmers whose fields were destroyed during the rains, M4 million was for nutrition, and M179 million has been set aside for the construction of roads and bridges and M106 million was to go to Public Works and the remaining M72 million was for Local Government.
Additionally, M3.1 million was for Water, M80 million was for the Ministry of Forestry and Land Reclamation to rehabilitate and conserve soil while M37 million went to Social Development to assist households that were affected by the rain.