Radio equipment theft to cost govt M18 million

KABELO MASOABI

LERIBE – The government will have to cough out about M18 million for repairs of Radio Lesotho transmitters as vandalism spirals out of control across the country.
Minister of Communication, Science and Technology, Ts’oinyana Rapapa, recently said the damages hinder society from accessing information on education, health and other important areas.

“In the Berea district at Kueneng, destruction of a transmitter will cost M15 million as this will require construction of a new transmitter and in Butha-Buthe, Qholaqhoe, the government will need M100 000 for repair,” Rapapa said.
To date, Radio Lesotho has 17 frequency modulations (FM) and one medium wave (MW) transmitters. FM is largely accessible in the lowlands but can also be accessed through the MW frequencies in mountainous regions.

Rapapa said his ministry learnt about the vandalism of transmitters during visits to the eight districts of the country during a Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) rollout exercise in which the public needs only set top boxes and aerials to access this modern service. Rapapa said the recurring vandalism has occasionally led to radio breakouts at affected areas.

For example, he said, the ministry has established that broadcasting transmitters for both television and radio have been destroyed in Maseru will cost M100 000 to repair, in addition to M500 000 needed to replace stolen solar panels. Damaged transmitters at Ha Ponoane, Roma will cost M100 000 to fix.

Destruction of transmitters in Mohale’s Hoek, Mokhele will cost approximately M110 000, while solar panels stolen at Lebelonyane in Quthing will cost up to M485 000 to replace.
In Leribe at Pela-Ts’oeu, a generator battery worth M2 000 has been reported stolen while in Chafo batteries and diesel worth M5 000 have been stolen.

In Thaba-Tseka, Sehong-hong, a transmitter which was handed over to the ministry by the Lesotho Highlands Development Authority to allow community access technological services was reportedly destroyed.  Rapapa appealed to all citizens to protect and prevent destruction of communications property since such acts hinder national development.

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