By Simon Liseli
ZAMBEZI Regional Governor Lawrence Sampofu has responded to concerns over a multi-million dollar project of Zambezi Waterfront Tourism Park(ZWTP) which currently on defunct.
This has been described by concerned residents as something turned into a ‘white elephant’ verge of collapse.
The main purpose of the project was to create employment for unemployed in the region and tourism attraction that would have generated funds to develop the town of Katima Mulilo and the entire region.
Sampofu has accused the management of the project during its initial phase operation, saying there was mismanagement of funds during its construction because money was pumped in but when it came to its evaluation it was found that over one hundred million Namibian dollars (N$100 000 000) was spend, and when they came for actual evaluation of funds that was used it was estimated at N$48 000 000.
“You can see that there was mismanagement of funds and the main aims or reasons for that project was to create employment for the residents of this region and to attract tourists” warned the governor.
He mentioned that there are so many tourists who used to be at Kasane in Botswana some 120 kilometers and at Victoria falls some 200 kilometers away Katima Mulilo town that would have been using ZWTP when they pass through Katima to other towns of SADC countries.
The governor added that at present the new board that was appointed last year they have started inviting people who want to be business partners and they also still waiting for the resolution of the cabinet to pronounce itself whether they give a go ahead to the new board to look for business partner to run business together at the waterfront.
“The residents have rights to be concerned with the project because those are services which are being brought to them but they don’t have them and what I can say now is let’s be patient the cabinet will pronounce itself what to do to the waterfront very soon”.
This multi-million dollar government funded project, is currently in a dysfunctional state after its forty-two (42) workers were forced to go on retrenchment in 2016, including eighteen (18) workers who survived the retrenchment who were re-appointed on contractual basis with limited benefits in 2017.
A total of N$ 350-million was injected by the ministry of finance as the initiator of the project mooted in 2000. While the constructions of this state-of-the-art park kicked off late in 2007.