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Diplomatic row looms over Sole’s appoinment

Caswell Tlali

MASERU — A diplomatic row could be looming between Lesotho and South Africa over the appointment of Masupha Sole, the convicted former Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) boss, to the Lesotho Highlands Water Commission (LHWC).
Sole, who was jailed for 15 years for receiving bribes from international engineering companies during the construction of Katse Dam, has been appointed the technical advisor to the Lesotho Highlands Water Commission (LHWC) starting from August 1.
The LHWC was set up by the governments of Lesotho and South Africa to oversee the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, which is implemented by the LHDA.
The two governments co-own the water project.
Each country sends its delegation to the commission to look after its interests.
Sole will be the chief technical advisor to Lesotho’s delegation to the LHWC during the construction of Polihali Dam in Mokhotlong.
Appointment of Lesotho’s delegation to the commission is the prerogative of Natural Resources Minister, Monyane Moleleki.
The South African water affairs minister, Edna Molewa, told the Sunday Express on Thursday that her government was seeking legal advice to see if Sole’s appointment could be challenged or not.
Molewa said the South African government would not express its opinion on the appointment before getting legal advice.
“The government of South Africa understands that the decision of the government of Lesotho to appoint Mr Sole to this delegation was meant to rehabilitate him,” Molewa said soon after the signing for the second phase of the water project.
“However, the reaction of the government of South Africa to this appointment will be on hold pending the finalisation of the search for a legal reason to challenge it,” she said.
“As of now there is nothing we can say about Mr Sole’s appointment to the commission.”
The Sunday Express understands that South Africa will want Sole removed from the commission if it finds any legal reason to challenge his appointment.

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