NEW Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Lehlohonolo Manamolela has a major task on his hands to provide affordable safe drinking water and address sanitation challenges facing consumers.
This is the view of civil society organisation, Development for Peace Education (DPE), following Mr Manamolela’s appointment on Monday to succeed Mathealira Lerotholi whose three-year contract expired earlier this year.
According to a WASCO press statement issued yesterday, Mr Manamolela would be charged with spearheading the take over control of the Metolong Dam and Water Supply Programme that is meant to provide water for Maseru and the surrounding towns.
This is in addition to ensuring WASCO fulfils its mandate to provide potable water and sanitation services to customers in urban and other designated areas.
“The appointment comes at a time when WASCO is working hard to comply with the regulatory requirements to improve customer service, quality of water and reliability of supply,” reads part of the statement.
“It also happens at an opportune time as it (WASCO) continues to intensify preparations to take over full control of the Metolong water supply to the benefitting towns of Maseru, Mazenod, Roma, Morija and Teyateyaneng; a development which is a huge challenge for the company as it has never managed infrastructure of this nature in terms of size and complexity of components as well as the vast distance the network covers.”
The statement said Mr Manamolela would draw from his experience in the “public sector, mining, financial services and recently, the education sector where he worked as the Deputy Rector at the Lesotho College of Education”.
According to DPE’s Education Researcher Lemohang Molibeli, WASCO needed to improve the quality of the potable water it provides to live up to its mandate.
“There is no justification for raising the cost of water if you consider the level of quality WASCO provides. In any case, Lesotho is endowed with abundant water sources and, therefore, it should not be expensive to collect and supply the commodity,” Mr Molibeli said.
He said the new CEO would need to address the problem of burst sewer pipes around Maseru, which were not only a nuisance but a health risk.
“Our urban centres have become squalid due to the ubiquitous burst sewer pipes, and the response times are very long. These are some of the challenges the new CEO faces,” said Mr Molibeli.
. . . as Mabona is fired from WASCO board
JAMALE Holdings Director Letsatsi Mabona has been axed as Water and Sewerage Company (WASCO) board member barely five months into a three-year tenure.
Mr Mabona was given his marching orders in a terse letter signed by Finance Minister Dr ’Mamphono Khaketla.
Dated 28 July 2016, and titled “Termination of Membership of the WASCO Board”, the missive reads: “Please be advised that I have decided to terminate your membership of the WASCO Board with immediate effect.”
The letter was also copied to WASCO board Chairman Malefetsane Mohafa.
Commenting on the matter yesterday, Mr Mabona confirmed receiving the letter, but said he was very baffled by the dismissal as there had never been any complaints from the board or Dr Khaketla.
“In keeping with the length of the letter, I have very little to say because I don’t know what brought about this dismissal. The minister never called me nor talked to me before this,” he said.
“She ought to have done it in an honourable way. The letterhead suggests the letter is from an honourable person, but it is not honourable to write me a dismissal letter with no explanation whatsoever.
“In the meantime, I will give her the benefit of the doubt and hope she will do the honourable thing and give me reasons for her decision.”
Mr Mabona said he was appointed by Dr Khaketla in March this year for a period of three years, adding he just wanted an explanation for the about turn.
“I don’t have a problem with her decision so long as she substantiates it. For now, I can’t say what I suspect to be the reasons for this dismissal until I get the reasons from her. Failure by the minister to give me reasons will leave me with no option but to voice my suspicions.”
Efforts to get a comment from Mr Mohafa were fruitless yesterday due to a bad telephone signal as the WASCO board chairman said he was “in the mountains” and would get in touch with the Lesotho Times upon his return.
For her part, Dr Khaketla’s phone rang unanswered.