Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta said the ongoing upgrading and construction of the Etosha National Park fence will no longer go through the tendering process, arguing middlemen pocket huge money while they do shoddy work for the government. Due to the fence’s deplorable condition, most dangerous wild animals such as lions and elephants often leave the park and end up in conflict with humans - a serious situation which causes loss of lives to people in surrounding areas of Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, and Kunene regions.
The government would need more than N$400 million to complete the over 800 kilometres long fence.
Last year, the Ministry of Land Reform invited Namibian companies to submit bids for two tenders to repair and electrify fences at two sections of the Etosha National Park.
According to an advert placed by the ministry in August last year, the two tenders are for Lot A and B of the park, which will see the successful company repair and install elephant and predator-proof electrical fences.
However, at a staff briefing on Wednesday, Shifeta changed such tone, saying there will be no longer tendering processes to construct and upgrade the fence boundary of Etosha.
He said the ministry has opted to do the upgrading and construction of the fence themselves, rather than involve middlemen who he says enrich themselves but do shoddy work.
“Serious attention will also be given to the upgrading of the boundary fence for Etosha National Park using our own staff members and volunteers.
We are about to start the project. We are not interested anymore in tendering-fencing we can do. I already bought the materials. People who get the tenders are middlemen. They don’t have the capacity to construct. Now we are going to do it ourselves,” Shifeta vowed.
Over the past seven years, only 112 kilometres of the boundary fence of the Etosha National Park has been upgraded and it will take 10 years or more to complete the remaining 712 kilometres.
The ministry estimates that the construction of the remainder would cost N$419 million.
He said the project would actually be launched on 22 February.
He added more focus will also be given to the maintenance of the Etosha National Park’s tourism roads.
Shifeta said this is done to ensure that visitors to the park, visit in comfort and enjoy the wonders that the park can offer.
He emphasised national parks have the potential to bring in maximum yields for the country as they offer regular sightings of many species such as elephants, rhinos, lion, leopard, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, roan, sable, buffalo, and many other species can be seen every day.
“We, therefore, need to position our parks in an attractive manner by ensuring that our park infrastructure is up to the highest possible standard,” Shifeta noted.
2020-02-07 07:59:24 | 16 days ago