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The bridge Letšeng built



MOKHOTLONG -LETŠENG Diamond has built a foot bridge for villagers and an office for the local chief in Mokhotlong’s Pae-la-Itlhatsoa area.
Letšeng Diamond Mine, the highest diamond mine in the world at 3 100 metres above sea level, is situated atop Mokhotlong mountain ranges.
It is because of the area’s topography, known for deep gorges and fast flowing small streams separating small, scattered villages, that Letšeng saw it fit to build a foot bridge connecting Pae-la-Itlhatsoa to nearby villages.

Speaking at the hand-over ceremony yesterday, the area local government councillor, ’Mapakalitha Silia, said the bridge “has transformed our lives for the better”.
Selia said pupils in Pae-la-Itlhatsoa, where there are two schools and a clinic, previously experienced serious problems during the rain season.
Before Letšeng’s intervention, the primary school at Pae-Leatlhatsoa had three classrooms only and three teachers to take pupils from Grade one to Grade seven.
“This was causing great congestion,” she said, adding that additional classroom blocks built with the help of Letšeng made the situation easier with each class boasting their own classroom.
She called on other corporate companies to emulate the compassion shown by Letšeng because the community’s needs are huge.
Selia said the Pae-la-Itlhatsoa community has “for a long time reaped benefits of having Letšeng Diamond as a neighbour”.
The village clinic was built by Letšeng as well as classrooms at the local school.

Letšeng also bought equipment for the clinic.
“When the nurses come to offer services at this clinic, this equipment enables them to work properly,” Selia said.
She said the community also appreciates the nurses provided by Letšeng, who offer the services to members of the community.
Chairman of the council, Boeang Khatleli, praised Letšeng for embarking on “many” development projects in the area. Khatleli cited the construction of police offices by Letšeng in the area.
He urged the community to take good care of the projects.
“We should not find the bridge being vandalised by the community,” he said.
The MP for Malingoaneng constituency Serialong Qoo said: “It is our responsibility that when we see this kind of developments we should not sit back and watch but we should also (extend) our hands.”

He said it is the responsibility of every mine to offer development programmes to the community they are located at.
“I believe that this is just the beginning,” he said.
Director of Letšeng Diamonds, Glenn Turner, said the community empowerment projects are mainly targeted at the young.
He reiterated Letšeng mine’s commitment to investing in education.
“We have so far sponsored about 400 students at high education level,” Turner said.
He said they also are offering internships to help students gain work experience.
He also cited the now successful Liphamola Dairy Farm project located in Mokhotlong as part of the company’s plough-back projects.
He said they are about to invest in a poultry project in Mokhotlong.

Refiloe Mpobole

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