Katima Mulilo – Following years of constant underdevelopment, neglect and dilapidated infrastructure, its central business district (CBD) will soon be transformed into a vibrant and modern business center.Katima Mulilo Chief Executive Officer Charles Nawa has a vision that has started to show tangible results with the near completion of tarred roads and the construction of commercial buildings in the CBD area.
The caprivi strip means that Namibia is one of the meeting points of the four countries, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana and is as little as 75km from Victoria Falls. Katima Mulilo is the closest Namibian town and is found on the banks of the Zambezi River.
“The tarring of the roads is at an advanced stage. We have already covered the entire Malena Street. The only thing left is to finish off putting in a pavement. We have made progress along Hage Geingob Street. We only have a short section left between FNB and Pick n Pay. On that section we want to extend traffic lanes to accommodate increasing traffic during peak hours,” he said.
With funds that the Katima Mulilo Town Council received from the Road Fund Administration (RFA), a commitment has been made in line with its recently launched strategic plan to continue tarring the remaining roads in town.
“This project was supposed to be completed already on the 1st of April, but because of unforeseen circumstances such as rain it was extended to the 31st of June. However, we have taken a resolution in the council that the little money that we get annually from the road fund will be used to continue tarring roads. This financial year we received N$2 million. We have committed ourselves to tar at least a minimum of two kilometers every year,” he said.
Katima residents and visitors have endured the many potholed roads in the town for a long time and this has affected the town council’s operations negatively, including a growing and continuous maintenance function, not to mention the hazards posed to motorists and residents through the emission of dust.
“Gravelling is not a solution for us anymore. It requires constant maintenance and we had a problem of dust in town,” said Nawa.
|Fast Facts about Katima Mulilo:|
|Population||Approx. 29 000|
|Katima Mulilo people||Masubia and Mafwe tribes|
|Average Yearly Humidity||56%|
|Average Yearly High and Low Temperatures||29.5 degrees Celsius, 14.2 degrees Celsius|
Commercial buildings in the CBD have sprung up and Nawa affirmed the town council’s mandatory role of attracting investors. “Our mandate is to attract investors. When investors come, we advise them on the type of buildings we want them to erect in our town. So far we have attracted an investor who is constructing the FNB bank building, where there was Tin Can Alley. Investors have to comply with our (building) requirements in line with our strategic plan,” explained Nawa further. He also revealed plans for the construction of a major shopping mall between the Zambezi Shopping Complex and Zambezi Waterfront, adding that a contract has already been signed with a developer.
“We are at an advanced stage. We have already signed a contract with a developer to develop the area between the Zambezi Shopping Complex, Shoprite and the Zambezi Waterfront. It will cost N$80 million. Town council offices will also be constructed in that area. The only delay we are experiencing is the change in the design of the planned complex,” Nawa told New Era.
Nawa said the sports complex, which is located adjacent to the area in question would have to be relocated to give way for the envisaged development. “We even want to relocate the sports complex to give ample space for the development of the shopping mall, offices and town houses. Safland will construct the shopping mall at a cost of N$104 million. I was told that by July, these people will be here and they will start doing the actual construction of the project,” he said about the envisaged new mall development.
The Katima Mulilo Town Council has also started renovating the once abandoned recreational area of Wooden Bridge found on the banks of the Zambezi River. “Wooden Bridge is almost complete. Renovations are being done, including the swimming pool. We hope that by the end of June the renovations will be complete. We want to use it as an entertainment and recreational area in town for families or events such as conferences or weddings,” the ambitious CEO told New Era a couple days ago.
According to Nawa, this year will also witness informal settlements such as Chotto, Butterfly and Cowboy being connected to the sewerage network, ending the long dated problem of lack of ablution facilities for these settlements. “This year we will start connecting a sewerage system in the Chotto informal settlement, so that people can have flushing toilets. Informal settlements such as Butterfly and part of Cowboy and Shack Dwellers already have a sewerage network. We also have a project to be launched in June for Chotto to be supplied with demand meters,” he said.
“Council will soon have its own affordable guesthouse. It’s located in New Look location and we are busy with renovations. It will officially be launched on the 1st of June 2013. For the first time we are also going to build a fire station. We are just waiting for some guidelines. We have also launched a quarterly newsletter known as Bream. The next edition will be in June,” he said.
By: George Sanzila
Date: 28 May 2013