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Kao mine tackles healthcare gap in Butha Buthe  


Seabata Mahao

The recent handing over of a fully fitted health facility to Nqoe Community Council in Butha-Buthe district by Kao diamond mine, has been hailed for advancing universal access to health services in the area.

The Katlehong Health Post donation goes together with a nurses’ dormitory, a guard house in a secured yard, and five, two-roomed houses for the Nqoe Community Council.

All these properties come with a solar energy connection.

The health facility will ease the frustrations of the community, which had to walk between 15 and 20 kilometers to the nearest health facility at Rampai village for medical attention.

Botha-Bothe District Health Director, Dr Lebohang Sao, who spoke during a recent hand-over ceremony for the health facility, praised the mine for the noble gesture.

Kao mine is owned by Storm Mountain Diamonds (SMD), whose shareholders are Namakwa Diamonds with 75 percent shareholding, and the government of Lesotho with 25 percent shareholding.

“The mine has helped us achieve our purpose as a district of Botha-Bothe, which is for services to reach Basotho,” she said.

Dr Sao explained that ahead of the construction of the health post in the area, the ministry’s studies had revealed that Nqoe lacked health services and would be a suitable location for a health post.

“The Ministry of health will work on ensuring that the post is in full-time operation and is not in use once a month. We also hope to get assisted with human resources so as to work every day and see this wonderful initiative of bringing services to Basotho to light because there is often lack in that area which often leads to operating once a month.”

On his part, SMD representative, Pierre Fourie said the mine is proud to address an existing community need.

“We have witnesses for the handover ceremony that the mine has kept its promise and did everything in accordance to how it was guided,” Fourie said.

The Chief Executive Officer of Kao Mine, Mohale Ralikariki, said the clinic will be accessible to everyone, included the five community houses, which will be used based on the community needs.

He called on the people to make good use of the initiatives the mine it is extending to them, while it is still operational.

Ralikariki indicated that through its corporate social responsibility efforts, the mine has established a fully equipped poultry project for the Kao community.  

It includes offices, storerooms, and poultry houses, working and cleaning equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), layer feed and medicines, according to Ralikariki.

The project included 1 000 egg layers for the community to sell the eggs to the mine and community to generate income. However, the project has not operational for several years now.

“The project employed 16 people and the income from the project was used for the benefit of the community. But as we speak, the project has about five to six years not operating due to minor misunderstandings by the community.”

“The project only operated for less than a year and within that short period of time it generated M105 000, and that money is still in the community’s account. The chickens produced 1000 eggs per day, which is equivalent to 33 trays,” Ralikariki said.

The handover ceremony was graced with the presence of the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Limpho Tau, the Minister of Local Government, Chieftainship, Home Affairs and Police, Lebona Lephema, Member of Parliament for Motete Constituency, Teboho Mojapela, among other high ranking government officials.

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