Villagers Shoot Themselves in the Foot

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By Irene !Hoaes

WINDHOEK

The village of Tubusis, in the Erongo Region, lost out on a good opportunity to become economically self-sufficient or at least make a living out of tourism activities offered by the region by maximizing on the opportunities that the scenic environment provides.

Facilities set up for a camping site at the village have gone to waste because of vandalism.

With the help of the German Government and the Anibib Fishing Company, the villagers were able to invest in a camping site about 5km from the village.

However, there is virtually nothing left of the very promising initiative, as community members themselves destroyed most of the structures.

The site had an office/reception structure, 10 barbecue facilities, toilets and showers, as well as water and electricity connections.

The German Government provided more than N$100 000 for setting up the structures at the camping site, while the Anibib Fishing Company, a black empowerment initiative, invested more than N$150 000 in other facilities such as water tanks and solar panels.

The community of Tubusis owns 10 percent shares in the Anibib Fishing Company.

Similarly, nearby villages such as Spitzkoppe and Okombahe also own 10 percent each in the company.

Chairperson of the Tubusis Local Deve-lopment Committtee, Leon Rheeder, said all was done and they were only waiting for the Anibib Fishing Company to set up signboards and organise the official opening. While they were waiting for these to happen, the facilities fell prey to vandalism, he said.

Rheeder said this is regrettable as the community even had the support of neighbouring lodge owners in the area, to complete and start the project.

“The owner of Oasis Mineral Water, Hubert Hertzog, was willing to help with advertising and provide office furniture and further develop the place, while the owner of Okapuka Lodge was willing to help with hot water facilities,” Rheeder said.

Rheeder also alleged that he forwarded notice of the community’s plight to the regional councillor but nothing much has come of it to date.

He noted that no one was willing to guard the site after its completion, as they (the community) wanted to be paid for that.

“Maybe people thought I was the owner of the site, that’s why they vandalised it,” Rheeder said.

He added that the Namibia Community-based Tourism Association (NACOBTA) was also willing to help the community.

Meanwhile, a director of the Anibib Fishing Company, John //Hoeseb, said the company had assisted the community and was waiting for them to organise themselves and take the initiative further.

“Even while the camp was in such a state, some tourists were willing to make use of the facility,” added //Hoeseb.

He said if they had seen progress they would continue to help but the community seemed not to be serious about the initiative as everything was finalised and only operations were supposed to start.

“There was a lot of infighting among community members, so much so that they were even fighting the man (Leon Rheeder) who was trying to at least develop the site,” //Hoeseb added.

The senior councillor of the !O?

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