Outrage over Namutoni dilapidation

NWR spokesperson Mufaro Nesongano said the fort has been closed to the public for several years with the intent to renovate it.

15 December 2020 | Tourism

ELLANIE SMIT







WINDHOEK

Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) says returning the Namutoni fort to its former glory will cost about N$20 million, which it does not currently have the funds for.

However, the removal of dilapidated structures and cleaning will be done immediately, the company said.

This after photos circulated on social media last week showing the sad state of the fort in the Etosha National Park.

The photos sparked outrage from Namibians who described it as tragic.

Phillip Steyn, who posted the photos to Facebook, wrote that he has never been as disgusted by government as when he walked into the fort.

“NWR, you should be ashamed of yourself! With all the millions pumped into Etosha, this is what awaits not only our locals, but international tourists! This is a proclaimed national monument and international icon you allowed to look like this!” he fumed.

Closed to public

Steyn went on to ask why the area isn’t kept clean.

“Or if you can't fix it up, give it to a private entity to restore and rent out for functions! The worst part is that all of these places are open to anyone who wants to walk around there,” he wrote.

However, NWR spokesperson Mufaro Nesongano said the fort has been closed to the public for several years, with the intent to renovate it.

He said returning the Namutoni fort to its former glory would entail the relocation of accommodation facilities to the fort as well as replacing the wooden deck at the viewpoint.

Nesongano added that NWR has engaged stakeholders regarding the renovation, but to no avail.

For this reason, he said, the NWR management team opted to close the fort off until they could secure the necessary funds.

“As NWR, we do not condone the filth that has accumulated within the fort. The removal of dilapidated structures and cleaning is something that has been addressed immediately and going forth we will do periodic clean-ups until we have renovated the fort,” NWR managing director, Dr Matthias Ngwangwama, said.

‘Self-serving agenda’

Meanwhile, Nesongano said NWR welcomes constructive criticism, but the company is also aware of lobbyist groups pushing for the privatisation of the country’s resources such as parks and resorts for a self-serving agenda.

“It is in this light that we would like to inform those with such interests that there should be no need to pull NWR down to achieve the above agenda. Public-private sector co-operation can be accommodated under the Public Procurement Act, the Public-Private Partnership Act and the State Finance Act.”

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