Water, sanitation programmes on schedule – Mokhosi
INFRASTRUCTURE programmes spearheaded by government and aid agencies to install electricity and water services across the country are on schedule with 64 percent of water systems already in place according to Energy, Meteorology and Water Affairs Minister Tšeliso Mokhosi.
Mr Mokhosi said the installation of water infrastructure, which has so far included the reinforcing of dams and installation of water taps, has also been accompanied by the installation of Ventilated Improved Pit (VIP) lavatories in rural areas where some still resort to using bushes whenever nature calls.
“The ministry has taken the initiative of availing clean water and lavatories with the aim of improving health, hygiene and sanitation to communities to avoid contracting diseases in the use of bushes as toilets,” Mr Mokhosi said.
“The journey from those unsanitary habits is gradually taking place since it is mandatory for improvements in water infrastructure to be accompanied by toilets to promote better sanitation.”
He said government had availed clean water for 48 476 people and installed VIP toilets catering for 6 242.
By last year, said Mr Mokhosi, the United States’ foreign aid agency, Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), had also provided 58 493 people with clean water and 12 420 with VIP toilets in the same areas across the country’s 10 districts.
This year, the ministry has set out to install water infrastructure for 18 589 people, while 3 959 would be beneficiaries of VIP toilets.
Mr Mokhosi added that the ministry would soon hold talks with the European Union to discuss the projects which will be funded by the M2 billion the bloc pledged last year to improve water infrastructure.
On the issue of electricity, he said the first stage of the outreach programmes had been completed in Butha Buthe and Leribe districts, with the next stage – which involves inviting bids from qualified contractors – having already taken off.
The project for the two districts will benefit 9 720 households in the year ending 2017.
The households earmarked for the project are in the Mechechane, Qalo and Hololo areas of Butha Buthe District as well as Matlakeng, Leribe, Pelá-Tsoeu and Mphosong areas in Leribe District.