Address by President Nelson Mandela at the inauguration of the Nelson Mandela Road to Katse

13 July 1995

Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am keenly aware that in inviting me to inaugurate this road, and in giving it my name, you are honouring the people of South Africa. Their victory, with the support of the people of Lesotho, has indeed opened the way for the successful implementation of the mighty Lesotho Highlands Water Project.

Lesotho and South Africa can be proud of this world class project. It exemplifies bold imagination, engineering skill and sound co-operation between our two countries.

It will give South Africa water it sorely needs for industrial growth. It will provide Lesotho with infrastructure and funds to fuel its development.

Provision has been made by our two governments to compensate all those whose lives are disrupted by the progress of the project. Rural development projects will provide them with new opportunities. This is in line with the humane principles which underpin our new relations.

Construction work on the main components of the project itself could not commence without the creation of a new infrastructure. One of the sterling achievements of the project is the construction of this access road. Covering a distance of over 400 kilometers, it is rightly regarded by the engineering world as an outstanding accomplishment.

Along with the other infrastructural developments, it will open up remote areas in the country, promote tourism and recreation, and stimulate employment. The roads, power lines and buildings will be of benefit to many people for years to come.

In its defining features, the Lesotho Highlands Water Project is a model for the reconstruction and development of Southern Africa. It draws on complementary strengths and resources in order to meet complementary needs. It is being implemented with due regard to the interests of all who are affected.

international community it devotes the resources of both our countries towards enhancing our productive capacity.

The project will leave behind it in Lesotho not only roads and dams, but also more jobs and more skills. This is important both for the future of Lesotho and the future of the project itself. The long term success of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, and its contribution to the social and economic development of our region, will depend also on how it is managed when the engineering feats have been long completed.

Reconstruction and development in our country and across our region entails breaking down the barriers which apartheid imposed. It allows us to redress the effects of destabilisation and the historical imbalances within and between countries.

Let us view this road as one of the gateways to those of our objectives, an avenue for greater cooperation.

I hereby inaugurate the Nelson Mandela Road.

May it long continue to promote the mutual interests of the peoples of Lesotho and South Africa.

Source: Nelson Mandela Foundation