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N$100 million shopping mall drags feet

Mon, 27 June 2016 16:38
by Rodney Pienaar
Business

The N$100 million shopping mall project that was to be constructed in Khorixas has not commenced yet as the first phase  that was targeted to start in May this year failed to get off the ground.
According to Lazarus Kunugab, one of the investors, construction of the mall  has been slowed down by the processes such as the consolidation of erven, an environmental impact study, transfer of property and financing proposals, which are still not finalised. The first phase of construction is expected to commence only after three to four months from now.
“With the recent developments within the Town Council information flow was also hampered. Despite the delays we are forging ahead with the project. We are waiting for feedback from the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN),” Kunagab said.
He added: “As soon as the DBN approves the project we will proceed with those processes of advertising tenders for construction of phase one of the project.”
The investors are purchasing land from the Khorixas Town Council (KTC) and i are responsible for the entire development cost.
“It is just that the information flow from the Council needs improvement for the speedy implementation of the project. People don’t have faith in things coming from certain quarters of society,” Kagunda said.
He added, “I believe that the change in the leadership delayed some of the processes. We are now looking to work closely with the new Council and leadership.”
The Chief Executive Officer of the KTC Nicodemus Gaeseb declined to comment on the delay of construction of the shopping mall.
“I am not going to say anything to you, contact the investors and talk to them,” Gaeseb
 Khorixas residents have to travel as far as Otjiwarongo or Opuwo to get access to basic services as the town now only has one supermarket. Khorixas has seen stagnation or at best a steady decline in development since Opuwo further up north was declared the regional capital of the Kunene region resulting in all government regional head offices relocating to the latter town.
The town has a population of 10,000, excluding the surrounding smaller settlements and villages such as  Sesfontein, Fransfontien and Kamanjab.
At least 150 jobs were estimated to be created during the construction of the mall which was expected to start early May, with at least 80 permanent jobs to be created for the inhabitants of the area. Khorixas residents and those of surrounding settlements and villages will no longer have to travel 200km to Otjiwarongo for their shopping once the mall is completed in the once thriving north-eastern town which is also at the centre of a political tussle between the UDF of Namibia and ruling Swapo party.
The political fight for control of the town has in the past seen accusations of deliberate victimisation, including to downgrading of Khorixas from  a regional capital, something strongly denied by central government.
This development is aimed at cutting out the costs of travelling as well as the risk of accidents.
A highway connection to the coastal towns of Henties Bay, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay is already underway, and is expected to increase the traffic flow through the town exponentially, especially by tourists who frequently visit the Kaokoland area that is hailed as a tourism paradise the world over.