1 November 2017

Namibia: Zambezi Waterfront Land Still Owned By Katima Council

The land donated by the Katima Mulilo Town Council in 2003 for the development of the Zambezi Waterfront Tourism Park is yet to be transferred to the government.

The ZWTP was closed in 2016 after a brief spell of operations, following allegations of mismanagement, leaving about 58 people jobless.

By that time, the government had invested N$180 million in the first phase of the development on the land that measures 22 hectares.

The first phase included site clearing, bulk earthworks, engineering infrastructure, the administration building, 15 bungalows, the camping site, conference facilities and walkways.

Addressing a press briefing last week, tourism minister Pohamba Shifeta said the failure to transfer the land into the government's name was holding back progress.

"The land has not yet been transferred to the government after it was donated by the town council. No one can say that all infrastructure built by the government on the land is the property of the town council.

"Therefore, we need to settle the transfer of the ownership of the land immediately for the board to start working on the business model of the ZWTP, and get potential investors," Shifeta stated.

He said there were other requirements the ZWTP had to meet before becoming operational again, such as complying with the Namibian Tourism Board Act, which sets certain standards for tourism facilities, which the ZWTP has not met yet.

"The ZWTP is still closed for business because we do not have a trading licence, and we still need to do some compliance to ensure that it is an establishment.

"The compliance requires the ZWTP to have an operational kitchen and a laundry room. The kitchen was demolished because of poor planning, as it was built on the main water pipeline drawing water from the river and supplying the whole of Katima Mulilo," the minister explained. Shifeta said the Katima Mulilo municipality had set a condition for the donation of the land - that it must have one representative on the board of the ZWTP.

"This will ensure that the local authority has a stake because they donated the land, and it looks like that was the agreement, which was not brought to my attention before," he continued.

"Therefore, we requested the mayor to submit two names from the local authority, and I will appoint one."

Efforts to get a comment from the Katima Mulilo Town Council were unsuccessful yesterday, as questions sent to spokesperson Pasval Elijah went unanswered.

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