Ha Lejone is one of many communities which had to sacrifice their land for Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP). Katse dam is Africa’s first largest water project which was constructed in 1989 for the purposes of supplying water to the Republic of South Africa and generating hydropower for Lesotho.

The LHWP has stimulated lucrative commercial fish farming deals and projects like Highlands Trout, which undertakes large scale trout production in Katse dam. It has been exporting fish caught in the katse dam to Japan and South Africa over the years.

It is a different reality for local fishermen who claim they have not been benefiting from the dam. The fishermen explain that fishing has become a nightmare for locals.

Two fishermen from Ha Lejone Tumelo Ratjofa and Namane Namane say local fishermen are only allowed to catch fish from the dam if they have fishing licenses which cost M100.00; if they do not have licences, they get arrested and their fishing equipment gets confiscated.

Both fishermen said they have been victims of harassment for catching fish in the dam. Mr Ratjofa has been arrested together with his wife and Mr Namane was shot at.

Namane and Ratjofa believe that their community should be free to fish at any time and not be limited to how many fish to catch; after all, they were told by the LHDA that they were beneficiaries of this project.

Seinoli believes that LHWP should ensure fair distribution of benefits and guarantee better livelihoods for affected communities by improving the economic condition of local fishermen.