• September 25th, 2020

‘Multi-billion’ smart city hangs in balance

OMUTHIYA – A planned project, dubbed the Tsumeb smart city, that will reportedly cost a massive N$20 billion to develop, is hanging in the balance.

Six months after heavy construction equipment were transported to the site, nothing much has happened on the ground. The South African company responsible for the development had initially promised a two-year construction period for the project. The project includes a medical university that will provide an international standard education for approximately 25 000 students, providing them and all the staff with accommodation, complemented with a modern 800-bed hospital.  The smart city will also have six hotels, office parks, residential apartments, entertainment and recreational facilities. 

The developers had initially scheduled the project for completion and operational by April 2021. Details of the sudden hold-up are being kept a secret at the moment, with MKP South Africa CEO Bizwell Mutale insisting everything is on course, pending the finalisation of what he termed “serious issues”, which can allow for the construction to go unhindered.

In addition, he said, they are busy obtaining the needed licenses - a process he said is near completion. “Let us work on the project, we cannot build it in the media, when the time comes we will issue a statement. We can’t report to you that we have laid the first brick, just give us time. All in all, the project will take off soon, and everything is in order,” he stated. Last year, Mutale had said that about 10 international architects designed and will work on the project. 

Many industry experts have questioned the proposed timeframe as “too good to be true”. “Our aim is that, come 2021, the project will be fully operational or 80% complete,” Mutale said then. The smart city is being constructed on prime land owned by businessman Kallie Grunschloss. Attempts to get comment from Grunschloss on the delay were futile, as he did not respond to calls and messages sent to him. According to a source familiar with the planned project, government is still trying to satisfy itself with the proposed development before giving the go-ahead considering the magnitude of the money involved. “There are procedures to follow, as such the project is still in that line. There are a lot of issues to be verified such as security, clearance and also establish whether the money to be used is not part of any money laundering and so on,” said the source. Efforts to contact Tsumeb mayor Matthew Hangula were unsuccessful as his phone rang unanswered.
– osimasiku@nepc.com.na

Obrien Simasiku
2020-02-19 07:37:54 | 7 months ago

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