South Africa dam claim

15 April 1998

The World Bank’s Inspection Panel has received a complaint from residents of Alexandra township, Johannesburg, about ‘Phase 1B’ of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP), which involves diverting water from the mountains of Lesotho to South Africa’s industrial heartland. The claim was filed just before Bank executive directors were to vote on a $45 million loan for the project’s next stage, the Mohale dam.

The claim charges that the Bank overlooked demand management alternatives to the project: about half the water piped is lost to leaks. The complaint further alleges violations of Bank rules on environmental and social impact mitigation, and dubious assessment of the economics of the project and its alternatives.


A strategy paper written to advise South African NGOs on how to relate to the World Bank is available from the Bretton Woods Project.