OMUTHIYA - The Ministry of Environment and Tourism is dismayed by the poor workmanship by contractors hired to construct and upgrade the Treesleeper campsite, a project for the San community of Tsintsabis.
Contractors allegedly vanished in thin air after being fully paid, leaving the project half complete.
Over N$3 million was spent on the upgrade and construction of the campsite.
This, the executive director Teofilus Nghitila said, shattered all efforts to fully unlock the economic potential of the project, which also aimed at providing employment to locals.
However, Nghitila said the ministry has thus far resolved to rope in private investors to revive the project, as it is unable to pump more funds into it.
In addition, he said, negotiations are underway to formulate terms of operation and how the community can benefit
“This is entirely blamed on the poor supervision which was exacerbated by poor workmanship from appointed contractors who did utterly substandard work. For instead some structures were built without a brick-force, thus how do you expect such a building to last? It poses a risk of collapsing,” fumed Nghitila at Tsintsabis on Friday.
The tourism ministry has three other similar projects in Kunene and two in Zambezi, of which one, Intenge community lodge at Ngoma was gutted by fire in August last year. It was not operational, as it was still incomplete, resulting in taxpayer’s money going to waste.
“These people were paid, and they ran away. This somehow got to do with officials conniving with the contractors, because how do you fully sign off to settle someone over substandard work? Therefore, some things were overlooked because someone was benefitting,” he lamented.
Bushwalks, traditional performances and village tours are some of the services offered in addition to a fully-fledged camping facility.
Despite the challenges, the project is slowly operational on a minimal scale, says the camp manager Moses //Khumub.
The campsite started its operation as far as 2007, but things have been sloppy since then, although it began on great note with 19 employees. At the moment, only three are managing the camp, a clear sign that a robust plan is urgently needed.
“This project is our only hope as a community of Tsintsabis; we understand things are not well and up to standard for a smooth operation – hence our wish to get aid. Irrespective of all these challenges, we are trying our best to sustain the campsite, which was made possible by the good working relationship within the tourism industry, especially the booking agencies,” Furthermore //Khumub said the income they generate is not enough to upgrade the facilities, but it is just something small to sustain the business on a day-to-day basis.
“We are strategically located not far from Etosha National Park and we serve as a gateway to accommodate people from Angola through the Katwitwi border post and those using the Mpungu-Tsumeb road,” he said.
“Our aim is for the project to flourish so we can invest more in education. At the moment, we spend on kindergarten and wish to move further. I should also say the community dance group receives about N$700 to N$800 payment which increases depending on the number of dances they offer – which to my self is good in assisting such families.”
2020-01-21 06:57:35 | 8 months ago