M11 million Polihali commercial centre underway


  • Also an option to extend the centre to include a filling station


MASERU – The M11.3 million Polihali commercial centre currently in its preparatory stage of construction in Masakong, is expected to enhance day-to-day access to goods and services in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) with a clinic, police post and specialty retail stores. There is also an option to extend the centre to include a filling station at a later stage. The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority (LHDA) awarded the contract for the construction of the Polihali Commercial Centre valued at M11.3 million to Unik Construction Engineering in mid-January 2023. Construction is expected to be completed by December 2023, along with the bulk of Phase II advance infrastructure.

“The Commercial Centre construction contract completes procurement on the quarter of Phase II advance infrastructure Project housing construction tenders, purposely packaged to enhance the participation of small and medium-sized contractors in Phase II. “Work on the other three construction contracts for the Polihali Village, upgrades to the Katse Lodge and Katse Village, and the Polihali Operations Centre is progressing well,” said Ntsoli Maiketso, LHDA’s Phase II Divisional Manager. The commercial centre is the only one of its kind in the area, the nearest village convenience store being approximately 15 to 20 kilometres away in the Mapholaneng area.

It will provide valuable services to perform work in the Phase II site and is expected to attract people from the neighbouring villages within the Malingoaneng area. Like the other Phase II Project housing buildings under construction, the commercial centre prioritises sustainability, with energy efficiency being a particular focus. Among other architectural considerations, large windows will allow natural light into the building while its north-facing orientation will minimise excessive heat loss in winter and heat gains in summer, reducing heating and cooling requirements.

Polihali Infrastructure Consultants comprising the South Africa based Mott MacDonald PDNA (Pty) Ltd and Khateli Tomane Moteane Architects (Pty) Ltd of Lesotho was awarded the contract for the planning, design and construction supervision of the poject housing and associated infrastructure in 2015. The LHWP delivers water to the Gauteng region of South Africa and utilises the water delivery system to generate hydroelectricity in Lesotho. Phase II adds 2 325 million cubic metres in storage capacity to the LHWP and will increase the current annual supply rate from 780 million cubic metres to 1 270 billion cubic metres, contributing towards meeting South Africa’s increasing water needs.

The additional flow of water from Polihali will simultaneously increase power generation within Lesotho towards meeting the country’s needs and reducing its dependence on electricity imports. Phase II will also include a hydropower scheme in Oxbow. The main water transfer works, the Polihali Dam and Polihali Transfer Tunnel were awarded at the end of 2022 and procurement for the design and construction supervision of the Oxbow Hydropower Scheme and its related social and environmental elements, also critical to Phase II, is currently underway. Water transfer is expected to start in 2028 with the commissioning of the Oxbow Hydropower Scheme expected to follow in 2029. Phase II of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project builds on the successful completion of Phase I in 2003.

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