Windhoek-Residents in the flood-prone areas of Kabbe South Constituency in Zambezi Region will breathe a sigh of relief after the Roads Authority (RA) commenced constructing a bridge to improve access to government facilities, as well as improve the access and mobility of the local community, especially during rainy seasons and times of heavy flooding.
Since 1990, residents of Kabbe have been cut off from essential government services, such as health facilities, education, home affairs and immigration offices, as well as social grants, among others.
In an interview with New Era last week, Kabbe South Constituency John Likando confirmed the new development and said residents there were ecstatic about the news.
“This project is a big welcome. Most residents, such as pensioners, struggle to get their money during flood season. We now also have the Ministry of Defence around Impalila and they won’t be able to pass with their military equipment and vehicles around Botswana. So, this road is important for security, education, education and ambulances taking medicines to those areas,’ he said.
Further, he added that residents involved in business, as well as lodge owners, would be able to move more freely, even during times of flooding.
He said the RA team is busy with the design of the bridge, which forms part of the second phase of the Nakabolelwa–Mbalasinte–Kasika via Ishuwa road leading to Impalila.
“They have the capacity to finish the work on time. As I am talking to you, most of the materials and machinery are on site. The ground and earthwork has started,” the councillor noted.
He said since the rainy season has started already, the RA has given the contractor -N2 Civils – three weeks to ensure the road is completed, so residents do not have to suffer the same difficulties endured in the past.
Historically, there have been a lot of delays in major multi-million national projects that often come to a standstill, as the areas are longer accessible for contractors in the region at times of floowing.
“When floodwater flows, it cuts off the region from the rest of the country. The constituency is only accessible half of the year due to this Ishuwa drift [channel from Zambezi and Chobe River], which is cut off due to floods. There has been an outcry since independence, but we are happy that it’s now receiving attention,” he said.
The site was handed to the contractors last Thursday.
According to minutes seen by New Era of a meeting held during September between Roads Authority and the Zambezi regional leadership, the engineers indicated that the community was aware of the route proclamation, as it was involved in the process of identifying the route.
Likando further noted that the route was determined in such a way that access is provided to almost every part of the island.
The engineer indicated that due to the dense vegetation, presence of domestic animals, many villages and dense movement of people the road would be designed to a safe maximum speed.
RA chief executive officer Conrad Lutombi said once completed the road will be 33 kilometres long and will serve the communities of the Kabbe areas, as well as those at Itomba and Impalila Island.
Lutombi indicated that though the road will be fully completed in due course, it would be implemented in stages due to budgetary constraints. He said the first priority will be to construct culverts or bridges on problematic channels to provide access during rainy seasons and when floodwaters have subsidised.
He also indicated that soft spots along the route would be improved with good material.
The CEO further indicated that once the design of the detailed design of the road is completed, the first stage of implementation would be constructing the drainage channels on five major problematic channels to address the access of those channels. The major problematic channels that gave locals headaches at Nanceleza, Ishuwa, Ikaba, Moomba and Mukololo will be addressed as a matter of priority.