Despite its significant progress, Kasane- Kazungula Re-Development Plan is still faced with a number of challenges. The revelation was made by Chobe Land Board Chairperson Johane Chenjekwa when briefing the media in Francistown last week.
Narrating some of the challenges Chenjekwa said lengthy procurement processes continue to negatively impact the project progress. He also said there is shortage of funds due to the Covid- 19 pandemic.
“There is also lack of specialized personnel like Quantity Surveyor, Structural Engineer, Electrical Engineer and Mechanical Engineer. As the project enters construction, lack of these specialists will negatively impact on project turnaround times,” he said.
He also said the Covid-19 pandemic negatively impacted on the project due to travel restrictions.
The Kasane-Kazungula Redevelopment project was initially conceptualized in 2012 when the Botswana Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) resolved that the Ministry of Environment Natural Resources and Tourism must develop an integrated tourism strategy for the area.
The strategy was to position the area in readiness for the Kavango, Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Park Initiative (KAZA) and inform effective and efficient land use to support and encourage tourism related initiatives.
The strategy was completed by Botswana Tourism Organization (BTO) in 2012 and on the basis of this strategy, the Ministry of Land Management, Water and Sanitation Services prepared and completed a Land Use Plan in 2015 which gave birth to Kasane- Kazungula Re-development Plan.
The Kasane-Kazungula Re-development Plan project was specifically started to among others; improve the road connectivity and streetscape, improvement of sanitation within the township and along river banks, reviewing of the current development to make it more tourism oriented and relocate public institutions or offices occupying prime tourism land to avail it for tourism product in the area. It also seeks to diversify the tourism product in the area.
On a positive note Chenjekwa said since the recommencement of the project in 2019 there has been considerable progress despite the unprecedented level of economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. He said that in terms of product development, UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) has been engaged as a technical partner to help diversify the tourism product offering.
“The experts however could not arrive due to international restrictions caused by the pandemic. The consultant has now completed three of the four project milestones and the final report is due to be completed in December 2021,” he said
Chenjekwa revealed that as part of product development, a tourism documentary film is currently being produced on the history and culture of the people of Kasane and Kazungula. The documentary film is due to be completed this month (December 2021). Furthermore he said a website dubbed “Destination Chobe” is also due to be completed in December 2021. He also said an Integrated Waste Management Plan for Kasane or Kazungula has been completed in conjunction with United Nations Development Programme(UNDP), Department of Energy and Chobe District Council(CDC).
“The process of securing a Technical Expert under Chobe District Council to help drive waste management reform including commercialization of waste as a resource is currently at tender stage,” said Chenjekwa.
In terms of property relocations, he said the exercise of identifying land for all properties identified for relocation in Kasane has been completed, 154 of which are government properties while the remainder are private properties in Kgaphamadi ward.Among other important issues He said over P400 million has now been committed to the project for relocation of government offices. Chenjekwa also said all the land planning for infrastructure upgrading in Kazungula has been completed and to date a total of P9, 151, 943.80 has been spent on compensations for private property owners and resurveying of the whole of Kazungula village.