Hotel defends using NWR branded soaps and shampoo

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WINDHOEK – Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR) is up in arms after the accidental discovery NWR branded amenities at an accommodation establishment at Otjiwarongo in the Otjozondjupa Region.

However, the owner of the establishments, Leon van Eck, was adamant yesterday that it is just a case of the wrong stickers on the right product. According to NWR’s Managing Director, Zelna Hengari, she and her team decided to overnight in Otjiwarongo last week. However, upon entering the Village Boutique Hotel they discovered complimentary soap and conditioning shampoo bearing the NWR logo and sticker on the packaging. Hengari and her team then reported the matter to the local police station, after which a search warrant was issued to determine the origins of the amenities. “This was a huge discovery,” said Hengari, noting that NWR spends approximately N$1 million every year on amenities. 

The MD also took note of the fact that the discovered soap were squares and not the usual round shape used by NWR. “This could be considered an infringement of intellectual property, amongst other charges,” said Hengari, adding “NWR has been taken for granted much too long and this must come to an end immediately.” However, defending the NWR branded amenities on his premises, Van Eck insisted it was merely a case of the wrong stickers on the right products. “The soap is not NWR property. It is my property that I lawfully purchased and as soon as we noticed the incorrect stickers we reported it to the supplier immediately,” Van Eck said. Explaining that two of six boxes of amenities he recently bought were labelled incorrectly, Van Eck also claims that the concerned supplier sent a letter apologizing for the mix up in branding. 

Also commenting on the debacle, Regional Crime Investigations Coordinator for the Otjozondjupa Region, Deputy Commissioner, Moses Khairabeb, yesterday confirmed the discovery of the NWR branded items. “After the discovery the owner said he bought the items from his regular supplier in Windhoek. What remains to be done in this investigation is to visit the supplier in Windhoek and for NWR to decide if they want to lay a charge. But for now the case is still ongoing,” explained Khairabeb. NWR is a state-owned enterprise, mandated to run tourism facilities within the protected areas of Namibia. 

The company was created through an Act of Parliament, the Namibia Wildlife Resorts Company Act, and has been in existence since 1998. Upon its inception, NWR operated 22 resorts inside Namibia’s national parks. To date, the company has refurbished most of its facilities inside the national parks, and also introduced three new eco-friendly products, namely Sossus Dune Lodge inside the Namib Naukluft National Park, Onkoshi Camp in eastern Etosha National Park and more recently Dolomite Camp.

By Edgar Brandt

ebrandt@newera.com.na

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