Namibia Wildlife Resorts Back on Its Feet

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK The Namibia Wildlife Resorts Ltd introduced its new Board of Directors yesterday. This is the third Board of Directors for the State-owned company since its establishment in 1998. Appointed by the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Willem Konjore, and approved by Cabinet, the seven-member new Board members would chart the way forward for the company. The Chairperson of the Kunene Regional Conservancies Association, Klemens Dantago /Awarab, takes over the chairmanship of the new NWR Board with Rieth van Schalkwyk from Venture Publishers as Deputy Chairperson. Other Board members are the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Dr Malan Lindeque; Acting Director of Economic Policy Advisory Services in the Ministry of Finance, Abner Annanias; Deputy Director of Land Board Tenure and Advice within the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement, Maria Kasita; Strategic Executive of Corporate Affairs, Administration and Community Development in the Municipality of Keetmanshoop, Epsom Jossop; Sebulon Chicalu, an employee of NWR. They will serve a three-year term, in line with the new State-owned Enterprise Governance Act. Officially introducing the Board yesterday, Konjore congratulated them on their appointments, whilst thanking the outgoing board under the chairmanship of Angelina Nauta-Sinvula for a job well done. As a State-owned company, NWR has gone through a difficult era of huge financial, infrastructural, managerial and training deficiencies, which nearly led to its total collapse. However, before the situation got out of hand, the line Ministry intervened and appointed an interim management team under the guidance of Ambassador Ndeutapo Amagulu. It was this team that brought the company back onto its feet by identifying the problems and working out lasting solutions. In April this year, Tobie Aupindi was appointed Managing Director and has managed to turn the company around. “Mr Aupindi, together with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism and the outgoing Board Members, developed and received Cabinet approval for a new business plan and turnaround strategy and the company was granted a Government guarantee for N$120-million to implement the turnaround strategy,” explained Konjore. The new Sossus Dune Lodge in Sossusvlei desert area, which will be constructed at a cost of N$12-million dollars within eight months, is one positive step in the turnaround strategy of the company. In view of this, Konjore expressed optimism that the incoming board members will be able to build on the foundation laid. “As new Board Directors, you are in a very fortunate position of assuming your responsibilities at a time when Namibia Wildlife Resorts is well on its way to recovery and headed by a dynamic management,” said Konjore. On his part NWR Managing Director, Tobie Aupindi, said he looked forward to working with the new Board in implementing the turnaround strategy. He noted that the “company’s ICU operation has (also) been arrested.” New Board Chairperson /Awarab said they (the Board) would stick to the turnaround strategy by complementing and improving on the work already done. “We will turn NWR around; we will, together with the team and this young man (Aupindi), make it happen. I’ll prove you right on this one,” said /Awarab. The incoming Board were also advised to familiarize themselves with the NWR Company Act, apply their knowledge, skills and expertise to ensure continued growth of the company. Outgoing Chairperson, Nauta-Sinvula, said they were keen to play an advisory role to the incoming Board. Outgoing board members are Willem de Wet, Elias Shikongo, Sebulon Chicalu, Walter BÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶ttger and Dr Malan Lindeque.