Keetmanshoop garment factory in limbo

08 Sep 2015 18:40pm
By Patience Smith
KEETMANSHOOP, 08 SEP (NAMPA) – The proposed garment factory in Keetmanshoop which was supposed to open last year is yet to be completed.
In addition, the incomplete building has been standing idle since the end of June 2015 after the building contractor, Goro Investments was fired.
The Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) this week advertised for the services of a new building contractor, allegedly after a prolonged battle to get rid of the former contractor.
Goro Investments, a Windhoek-based company owned by Gottlieb Namunjekua, is not new to controversy.
Last year, the company was in the news for the delay and snowballing of costs in another NDC multi-million dollar project, the Kalkfeld Tourism Centre.
Goro Investments was also accused by Kalkfeld residents of using low quality materials and producing sub-standard work.
A source close to the development in Keetmanshoop told Nampa on Tuesday the NDC wanted to get rid of Goro Investments at the end of 2014 already after the contractor was accused of “playing games” with the investor, and often abandoning the site in favour of work on other tender projects.
The source said that at every threat of closure of contract, Goro Investments fought back, only to further delay the development of the eagerly-awaited project.
The NDC has embarked on the establishment of three garment factories meant to serve as a lifeline to many former workers of the defunct Ramatex garment factory in Windhoek, and to provide jobs to women skilled in sewing.
The Tuhafeni Garment Factory in Windhoek is already operational, while the one in Ongwediva is currently in the planning stages.
The intent is to specialise in the vast and lucrative uniform market where Namibian schools alone have around 700 000 learners.
A visit to the Keetmanshoop construction site by this reporter revealed several spots of shoddy workmanship and evidence of vandalism – besides the work and finishing still due on the premises.
A security guard was found manning the building.
It is understood that the contractor has been paid for all the work done already.
NDC project manager Ralphton van Wyk referred all queries to the company’s manager of corporate affairs Wessel Nanuseb who requested questions via email, but failed to respond by end of business on Tuesday.
Namunjekua’s cellphone was out of reach, while another contact number went unanswered.
His office in Windhoek indicated that he was out of office and currently working on another project “somewhere in the south”.