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A policy analysis of the consequences of the Lesotho highlands water project for rural communities in Lesotho: a case-study of communities affected by the construction of the Katse and Mohale dams.

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This thesis analyses the policy and implementation of the Treaty reached between the Kingdom of Lesotho and the Republic of South Africa to construct two dams, the Katse and Mohale dams, to supply water to the Province of Gauteng in South Africa, in 1986. The nature and intention of this study is to contribute to knowledge since these dams were constructed for socio-economic development in Lesotho and in the Republic of South Africa. The main purpose of the thesis is to investigate the extent to which the construction of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project has benefitted resettled and relocated households in the areas where they now live. The study focuses on how seven of the socio-economic development programmes of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority, namely Infrastructure, Compensation, Resettlement, Relocation, Capacity Building, Rural Development and Tourism, have been understood and implemented during the construction of the Katse and Mohale dams. In this study a more detailed empirical approach of how the Treaty and Compensation Policy for resettlement and relocation of affected communities in two regions of Katse and Mohale is understood and applied in the Katse area and Maseru District (one urban, in the Maseru suburbs, and the other rural foothills of the Machache mountain range of Ha Theko in Nazareth). The thesis identifies contributions made to social and economic development brought about by the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Political structures that governed this project are interrogated, as well as the management structures that were given the responsibility to supervise the administration and operations of this project. This resulted in more than 50 households resettled in the Katse dam region and more than 80 households resettled in urban areas, the outskirts of Maseru City, and more than 100 households relocated to Ha Theko area. The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority was satisfied with the policy implementation in this regard, but little benefit is seen amongst people affected by the LHWP in their resettled and relocated places. The attempt here is to show how the implementation of seven socio-economic programmes of the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority has really contributed to the betterment of affected communities who were involuntarily displaced by LHDA. The thesis also reveals the importance of women in taking household leadership positions, in which issues of resettlement, employment, health, building of healthy relationships with host communities and capacity building, have been their major responsibilities and functions. In the Treaty, the intention of the project was that the resettlement programme should be organized in such a way that the standard of affected communities by the construction of Lesotho Highlands Water Project, in particular those resettled and relocated, should not be below the level they were before their resettlement and relocation. Four main areas of focus, namely the nature of the project, the governance of the project, management and policy implementation, and the situation and current consequent conditions of affected communities, are critically analyzed in this study.


Ph. D. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg 2014.


Lesotho Highlands Water Project--Social aspects., Lesotho--Economic conditions., Economic development--Lesotho--Social aspects., Theses -- Policy and development studies.