Environment, Forestry and Tourism Minister Pohamba Shifeta has emphasised the importance of decent permanent accommodation infrastructure for staff members based in national parks.
Shifeta was speaking at Springbokwasser on Thursday, during the unveiling of infrastructure at four coastal parks in the Skeleton Coast National Park namely; Springbokwasser, Ugabmund and Mowe Bay in the Kunene Region and the Cape Cross Seal Reserve in the Erongo Region.
The minister said the houses will make it easier for the 85 per cent staff members of the ministry who live in parks, away from home, to receive the much needed visits from their families and enjoy their company comfortably.
The new infrastructure also covers new park entrance gates and signage walls; new offices; tourism reception areas; vehicle garages and maintenance workshops; staff houses; service buildings with equipment stores, a service pit and wash bays, and ablution blocks.
“In the past the situation has been terrible for the staff members and in most cases families could not even visit because we did not have appropriate permanent structures for them to accommodate visiting families, and some of them would want to leave and go home due to this. However now that there is additional accommodation infrastructure, there is even provision to increase staff members in the parks,” Shifeta noted.
The minister stressed that MEFT employees particularly those working for wildlife and national parks, need to be equipped with appropriate tools and equipment to conduct their day to day activities efficiently and effectively.
The infrastructure was constructed by the Namibian Government, with support from the German Government through KfW Development Bank at a cost of over N.dollars 132 million.
German Ambassador to Namibia Herbert Beck echoed the minister’s sentiments, adding that park staff can now reside in adequate accommodation, work in a professional environment and tourists can be proudly welcomed at the parks.
Bernard Aubub has worked in the Mowe Bay Park for over 30 years, where he started as a watchman and is now a park ranger. He said the new infrastructure not only gives him a sense of security from the wildlife animals out in the park but also continues to motivate him to carry out his work diligently.
Source: The Namibian Press Agency