KATIMA MULILO - Inhabitants of Kabbe North and Kabbe South usually stranded during the rainy season at settlements along the Zambezi will heave a sigh of relief after the regional government announced it will soon revive the river transport that has been inactive for years.
The Kapelwa Kabajani ferry is named after the late liberation struggle hero Richard Kapelwa Kabajani.
It was procured from neighbouring Botswana at great cost to Treasury, to ease the transport woes of residents of Kabbe North and Kabbe South had virtually become a white elephant because it has spent more time docked than transporting passengers.
This was because the officials were locked in a tug-of-war apparently trying to decide the tariffs for the 360-horsepower barge that can also transport vehicles. The other version was that the Zambezi River needed to be dredged. This has been going on for at least four years.
But the councillor for Kabbe South John Likando told New Era upon enquiry that the sedentary river ferry will “soon” start to transport both goods and passengers from Kasika, Impalila, Muzii, Nankuntwe, Namiyundu, Luhonono, Imukusi all the way to Katima Mulilo.
Likando stated that the ferry was recently repaired and had already been taken for testing. Another delegation from the regional council will go on a test drive to Impalila Island this coming weekend. He however could not reveal exactly when the ferry will start operating.
“I cannot say when it will start operating, but it will be very soon, once everything is ready, we will make an official announcement, we will even go on the local radio,” assured Likando.
He also stated that the gazetted fees ranging between N$45 for people going to Luhonono and N$85 for people going to Kasika will be used once the ferry start operating. Likando however pointed out that currently, the level of the Zambezi River has risen and the ferry may not have any difficulties reaching Impalila. However, the regional council is still considering deepening the river as the ferry may not pass in some areas where there is sand and rocks when the water subside.
He added the dredger which cost government about N$8 million is ready for use, however, they still have to liaise with their Zambian counterparts as some areas which may need deepening might be on the Zambian side of the river that serves as a boundary between the two.
He further stated that once it starts operating, the ferry will easy the transportation burden on people living in flood prone areas, particularly during the flood season when their areas cannot be accessible by road.
Regarding the flood, Likando warned that even though the river is rising slowly, people should be on alert and be prepared to move to higher ground should the situation become worrying.
“These are seasonal floods, so people should be prepared at all times. We have already conducted meetings with them and we advised them that they should monitor the situation and if it becomes alarming they should move, because we no longer relocate people,” said Likando.
The Zambezi River on Monday stood at 1.63m compared to 4.09m at the same time last year.
2019-02-20 09:28:03 6 months ago