PUBLIC Works minister, Lehlohonolo Moramotse, says the construction of the M900 million 60 kilometre Marakabei-Monontsa road in the Butha-Buthe district will enhance economic activities between Lesotho and neighbouring South Africa.
The current dirt road has over the years posed challenges to its users who have always sought to travel between Monontša in Lesotho and the South African town of QwaQwa.
It will finally be constructed this financial year by the Chinese construction company China Geo Engineering Corporation over a period of three years.
Mr Moramotse said the government had noted the public outcry over the state of the road, saying while the previous government had talked about constructing the road, the current administration had led the way by selecting a contractor for the project.
He said that Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, would soon officiate at the sod-turning ceremony to signal the commencement of the construction work for the road.
The Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Public Works, Mothabathe Hlalele, also said the road would open a host of economic opportunities for Lesotho by facilitating cross border trade.
He said this would also ease pressure on the current five commercial border posts namely, Maseru, Maputsoe, Calendon Spoort, Van Royeen’s Gate and Qacha’s Nek gate.
As a non-commercial border, Monontsa gate is currently one of the ports of entry believed to be used as a conduit for smuggling of goods.
“It is going to be a very expensive road because we want it to be world class because government’s intention is to turn Monontša into one of the biggest commercial border gates between Lesotho and South Africa.
“We need the road to be of high quality because trucks from Durban frequently use that road from South Africa to Lesotho. Once completed it can only mean economic growth for us through revenue collection,” Mr Hlalele said.
The minister indicated that the road would include construction of several bridges across which the road would pass. He further indicated that they aimed to break with the negative legacy of the past governments who constructed sub-standard roads by constructing a quality, durable road.