By Thandiwe Kubere
Butha Buthe –
Storm mountain diamonds at Kao, held a handover ceremony of a health post and five two-roomed houses for Nqoe community council in Butha Buthe. This initiative is part of the mine’s active corporate social responsibility programme aimed at improving the livelihoods of the communities surrounding its operations.
The community of Nqoe is said to have been longing for a good and close health care center for a long time. Before this there was no health facility in Kao, therefore, in order to access services, people had to walk daily to the nearest health facility in Rampai village, which is 15-20km from Kao to seek medical attention. Having to walk such a distance in a poor health condition was risky and deteriorated their health even further. Another issue was that there was no suitable accommodation for volunteer health care providers, thus hindering their ability to assist the community for a long duration. Storm mountain diamonds mine therefore decided to donate 5 two-roomed houses which are to be handed over to the Nqoe community council this week. This is so that they rent the houses out in order to generate income for the council as well as accommodate health care providers.
The mine is jointly owned by a South African company, Namakwa diamonds limited with 75 percent shareholding and the government of Lesotho with 25 percent shareholding. The member of parliament for Motete No. 3, Hon. Teboho Mojapela, said he is obligated to make sure that not only the community in Motete, but Basotho as a whole are well taken care of by the government. He therefore extended his gratitude to the government in collaboration with the mine for having made this purpose possible and giving a hand to the society. He further pointed out that the role of a member of parliament is to; be responsible and allocate funds where necessary, make sure that people abide by the law as well as to assist people with their needs. “Honestly, we rightfully do not even have to be in this position we are right now. The mines have been here for a long time now without any developments being made. We therefore thank the mine and the current governance for the role it played”, he said concerning the community and nearby villages.
The chief executive officer of Storm mountain diamonds, Mohale Ralikariki, said the mine is proud and excited to be afforded the opportunity to offer a helping hand to the Nqoe community and now have witnesses for the handover ceremony that the mine has kept its promise and did everything in accordance to how it was guided. He said not long ago the department of health approached the mine with this idea and how both could work together to achieve this outcome. “We get approached by different sectors for assistance because this part of the highlands is quite hard to reach. It becomes quite a challenge on how people will get here and where they will sleep once they arrive when they have to carry out projects. The houses are offered so that in the future it becomes easier for people from different ministries to come here so that they help the community with their different needs at ease. He mentioned that there are currently other development projects the mine is currently working on.
Butha Butha managing director, Dr. Lebohang Sao commended the Kao mine for what it has done for the community. She declared they have been working hand in hand and it has been quite a journey trying to figure out ways to help surrounding areas and give them good health services at their convenience. She said there was a point when it only felt like a dream, they did not know how it would be achieved. “This is an absolute joy for us. The mine has helped us achieve our purpose as a district of Butha Buthe, which is for services to reach Basotho and not the other way round”, she said.
There was an outreach by the department of health education for the society around Kao on which area would be a more suitable location for the health post. This means it has been placed in accordance with the needs and preferences of the community. According to Dr. Sao, the Ministry of health will work on ensuring that the post is in full operation and not in use once a month which is often common. “We also hope to get assisted with resources which will enable us to work every day”, she said.
The principal secretary of the ministry of health, ‘Mats’oanelo Monyobi, on behalf of the minister, emphasized their excitement and gratitude to have been part of such an impactful project that lends a hand to the community and will provide them with close access of health care services in a place so remote, where they will not have to travel far to get to anymore. She therefore urged them to handle the property with outmost care so that it benefits them for a long time. She said the ministry is thankful for what the mine has done in meeting them half way to assist the community.
The health post is fully fledged, has all the necessary medical equipment and is ready for use. She said the ministry of health will make sure to allocate nurses to work at the clinic and the accommodation donated will come in handy since they will not have to travel far. The ministry will work hard to make sure the clinic is well taken care of and develops to even better condition. She further encouraged people to take advantage of this opportunity and seek medical attention early so that they quickly and easily get treated before it is too late.
Monts’o Moliko on behalf of the community thanked all the key players who made this possible and changed their lives for the better. A health post, which is now called Katlehong clinic and the houses are yet to begin their use this week.