MASERU – Residents of Motheo II are peeved by Maseru City Council (MCC)’s failure to deliver infrastructural services to the community as promised.
Pioneers in the community bought the sites around 2011. Some paid cash upfront while others paid in instalments. Those that paid in terms were given written contracts by MCC, while those that paid cash were not. Moreover, for those who paid in instalments, MCC took the contracts back as soon as they settled their balances, which raises questions on the legality of that act.
The community bought sites at Motheo near Masianokeng at the average price of M120 000 with the understanding that the price includes subsequent infrastructure development. However, no developments have been done for the community to date.
Motheo is one of MCC’s new developments established within the Masianokeng community. Speaking to this publication, a member of the community, who is also a member of a village committee designated to oversee the community’s infrastructure developments, Refiloe Litjobo, noted that it has been years since they waited on MCC to deliver to them infrastructure developments which are part of the package for those who purchased Motheo sites.
He said before they bought the sites, MCC told that it was selling the sites at such a high price because the price includes, among others, roads construction, water and sewerage lines, electricity network, sports and recreation areas, cemetery and a shopping centre.
Out of these promises, only water connection has been completed, while network gravel roads remain unfinished.
To electrify the place, they had to dig deep into their own pockets as MCC was not willing to deliver on any of the promised developments.
Litjobo said until today they have no sewer lines, no street lights while the half-done road has depreciated so much that driving on it during rainy days is a challenge.
He further noted that in 2019, MCC constructed a half-done gravel network of roads in their community yet the council wrote a report to the government stating it has finished the construction of roads and that Motheo people are happy with the development.
The report, Litjobo alleges, was compiled without their knowledge and is far from the truth. He said because of the unfinished roads, the community has been experiencing land degradation that worsens every day.
“We have been contacting MCC for years but up to today they still have not addressed our grievances. Every time we demand answers, they will give us a different story. “What is even more worrying is that MCC continues to sell sites in this community, promising the new buyers the same things they promised us. The government made a fortune selling these sites, but they are not willing to develop this community as agreed in our contract.
“We even took the matter further and asked the Minister of Local Government to intervene. When we arrived at his office, he told us to put our grievances in writing so that he would follow up on the matter. We did as we were instructed but since he received the letter he has not been taking our calls,” he said.
He, however, noted that they do not have a written contract with MCC but were verbally promised the infrastructure development when buying the sites.
After failure by MCC to address the community’s requests, they wrote a letter to the Minister of Local Government and Chieftainship Sam Rapapa on the 14th March 2021 requesting assessment and implementation of pending infrastructure development at Motheo II.
In their letter, the community explained that Motheo II sites allocation to residents was facilitated through a contract administered by MCC. They said the contract promised that the planned infrastructural developments which MCC promised residents would be implemented before building houses.
They said, this unconditionally increased the value of the plots prior to residents purchasing them, raising the prices for such land allocations.
“Some of the planned infrastructural developments include road infrastructure, water and sewage lines, electricity network, sports and recreation areas, cemetery area and shopping centre.
“While some of these developments have been accomplished, a majority have not. Notably, the road network and water sewage lines have been partly developed. Residents have personally funded the electrification of the entire village by extending the electricity line network from distant neighboring villages.
“Additionally, villagers are currently personally funding the construction and extensions of the road network to enable entry into residential areas that are completely inaccessible, particularly during rainy seasons,” noted the letter.
The letter further states that in 2019, MCC tried to develop a road network within the community but the project was left incomplete for reasons unknown to the community.
The unfinished project resulted in massive soil erosion that worsens with years.
They said, as a result, they request assessment and implementation of the promised projects.
Aggrieved community members said they are aware that the projects may take time, therefore they request MCC to prioritise construction of a complete and quality road network and street lights for security. They further request clear identification of land allocated for cemetery and the area reserved for sports and leisure.
Rapapa acknowledged receipt of a letter from the Motheo II community. He, however, noted that there is no way he can help them as the agreement was between them and MCC not the ministry.
“Why are they not contacting MCC on the matter; how am I supposed to help them? It is a norm that when people in property development fail to deliver, the victims come to local government demanding that we do the job which does not concern us in any way.
“If they had a contract with MCC stipulating that infrastructure development was part of the package when buying the sites, then they should take MCC to court. I advise them to take MCC to court,” Rapapa said.
Efforts to get a comment from MCC were futile.
Public Relations Officer at MCC, Makatleho Mosala promised to talk to this publication but she was not picking our calls up to the time of going to print.