THE Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) has launched a stakeholder outreach initiative aimed at addressing the escalating cases of vandalism of its infrastructure as well as the growing practice by the public of erecting buildings under its power lines.
The outreach programme, the first of its kind, will facilitate dialogue on issues of common interest between LEC and stakeholders.
According to the acting LEC Managing Director Lintle Thamae, the LEC Outreach Plan is intended to be an annual platform which will involve meetings with stakeholders throughout the country’s ten districts.
LEC will use the platform to promote awareness of its functions and roles, as well as receive input from the public on how to handle some of its challenges.
Ms Thamae said the LEC also hoped that it would establish and maintain closer interaction with the people as a way of resolving some of the common challenges affecting both parties.
“Our different stakeholders play a meaningful role to help us to fulfil our mandate and through this campaign we are hoping to reach out to them to make it easier for them to work with us,” Ms Thamae said.
She said their target audience included legislators, district administrators, principal chiefs, district council secretaries, government ministries, police, local councils, non-government organisations, the business community, general public, LEC customers and the media.
She said the company had existing channels for interacting with customers including suggestion boxes, social media pages and radio programmes but they were taking things to the next level with the outreach plan.
“The meetings will not only give us face-to-face interaction with our stakeholders but will also enable us to learn some of the challenges the stakeholders encounter with our services.” she added.
Another LEC representative, Matseliso Moremoholo said the company was faced with the rampant vandalism of its equipment despite interventions which included replacing copper cables with other materials.
“Vandalism seems to be getting worse despite our efforts to replace copper cables. The thieves still cut the cables only to find that they were not what they wanted. But in the end, power cuts were experienced as the cables had been cut,” she said.
LEC legal officer Ms Limakatso Qhobosheane said some people had been arrested and convicted in connection with the vandalising of LEC equipment. She however said there were currently no specific laws on the crime.
She said this resulted in lighter sentences that were not punitive enough to discourage the crime.
The district meetings are set to start in Berea on 17 October, followed by Leribe the next day. Further meetings will be held in Butha Buthe (19 November), Mokhotlong (20 October), Mafeteng (7 November), Mohale’s’ Hoek (8 November), Quthing (9 November), Qacha’s’ Nek (10 November), Thaba Tseka (22 November) and Maseru on 23 October.
The campaign will culminate in a national stakeholders’ forum where issues raised at the district meetings will be addressed.