Footsteps Through Time

Footsteps Through Time
A History of Travel and Tourism to the Victoria Falls - www.zambezibookcompany.com

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Helicopter crash-lands in Victoria Falls

SIX Americans cheated death yesterday after a helicopter that was supposed to fly them above the Victoria Falls had a false start and crash-landed barely thirty metres from where it had taken off.

Janice Mitchel, Elizabeth Hamilton, William Leur, Elizabeth Benevides, Debbie Lonechamps and Stephanie Black all walked from the crash site unaided while first aiders and medical personnel fell over each other in an attempt to help them.

Of the six, four were whisked away to their hotels soon after receiving first aid, while two others had to be taken to a private hospital where they were checked and discharged.

According to a Press statement released by Zambezi Helicopter Company public relations manager Mr Clement Mukwasi, the helicopter performed a hard-landing immediately after take-off and the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe is investigating the cause of the accident.

"At approximately 11.30am this morning, one of the helicopters operated by the Zambezi Helicopter Company REG: ZSCA performed a hard-landing.

"All six passengers and the pilot walked safely away from the landing unaided. Two have gone to Medicare Private Clinic for further assessment.

"The helicopter has sustained some damage, and all relevant authorities are currently investigating the cause of the accident. Flight operations will commence on 31 August," the statement reads. The Flight of Angels is the most popular activity in Victoria Falls and enables tourists to view the falls from above in the special rules aviation area which is shared between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe has two companies that offer the activity while Zambia has three.

Source: Helicopter crash-lands in Victoria Falls Bulawayo24 (31 August 2014)

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Zimbabwe rail network 'a death trap'

THE Railway Association of Enginemen (RAE), a union that represents National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) train drivers, has warned that the country's 3 000km rail network is now a death trap. RAE said the whole rail network had become dangerous for train drivers and passengers and reporting for duty was now risky for them as derailments occurred regularly.

 The union said the government, NRZ's major shareholder, should decisively act and rehabilitate the dilapidated rail infrastructure. This comes in the wake of the derailment of a Harare-bound train that left 22 people injured, one of them seriously, on Saturday night at Heany Junction about 30km east of Bulawayo. RAE vice-president Juniel Manyere told Southern Eye yesterday that the dilapidated rail infrastructure was a stumbling block to the country's economic revival. "Our members are very much concerned about the frequency of train derailments which occur on a daily bases, but the majority remain unknown to the public," he said. "The rail network has become a death trap to us (drivers) and members of the public. The whole network is littered with speed cautions and in most routes, especially the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls one, the speed limit is just less than 40km/hour. "

This delay in movement of goods and passengers has seen people running away from doing business with us. The government should urgently intervene and rehabilitate the dilapidated infrastructure. Rail traffic is pivotal to the national economic recovery and there is no way ZimAsset will succeed with the current infrastructure."

 The ailing NRZ requires $50 million to lay a new railway line connecting Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. In the past, the parastatal blamed train accidents on vandalism of infrastructure as most of the country's electrified rail network has fallen prey to thieves who target overhead copper cables used on the railway network. The World Bank once suggested that NRZ close down nearly two-thirds of its railway network to allow for rehabilitation because of the high potential for disaster they posed. Zimbabwe's rail network, once a hub of the regional transport network, stretches for 3 077km. 

Newly-appointed NRZ board chairperson Alvord Mabena said the railway tracks were totally unreliable and it was now risky to travel by train. He said some of the infrastructure was obsolete and suggested suspension of all passenger train operations. "Running a passenger train is not profitable (and) instead is a waste of money by the parastatal," he said. "As long as the government does not subsidise NRZ, it is better to close the service." Mabhena, who was NRZ general manager during arguably the rail company's most successful period before retiring in 1998, said countries such as Botswana resorted to selling the passenger coaches to Mozambique due to profitability concerns. 

"The government must come up with a hard decision and do away with passenger trains," he said. "Botswana ended up selling its coaches to Mozambique after having experienced viability problems. The infrastructure is obsolete and it is risky to travel by train. The coaches that are in used were made and designed in South Africa in the 1990s. "I participated in the designing of these coaches hence I say they are old to be safe for use by people." Mabena warned that more accidents could not be ruled out if the government did not fund the parastatal.

 The revival of the rail infrastructure is pivotal to the country's economic turnaround programme as investors require such infrastructure for the efficient movement of goods and services. Experts recommend privatisation as the only way the NRZ can be revitalised as the government is facing a myriad of challenges all related to liquidity constraints. NRZ requires about $400 million in the short to medium term to revitalise its operations and about $10 billion in the next 10 years to reach full, safe and reliable operating capacity.

 Source: Zimbabwe rail network 'a death trap' (26/08/14)

Monday, 25 August 2014

ZAWA accuse ALERT NGO and its partners for deceiving donors

The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA)has described as appalling the behaviour by some Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) in the wildlife industry who are claiming credit for works they did not do so as to deceive donors.
In press statement released to the media by ZAWA Communications & Public Relations Officer Mwila Readith Muliyunda the Authority says it is outrageous, unfair and disrespectful to the organizers for some NGOs to claim ownership of works done by others in a bid to appease donors.
Ms. Muliyunda questioned the credibility of such organizations which she said did not show any interest during the planning phase of the event.
“The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) is appalled at the level of dishonesty by some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the industry, which go to the extreme of claiming credit for works they did not do in their quest to appease donors.
“ZAWA last week collaborated with Green Rural African Development (GRAD) to put up a colourful conservation and education awareness initiative and fun day for kids in commemoration of World Lion Day.”
She added, “Surprisingly, ALERT, a local NGO and its sister organisation, Lion Encounter through an article they posted on their website made false claims and gave the impression that they were behind the organisation of the event when in fact they were not.
“This may seem immaterial at glance. However, it is important to note that the organizing phase of the event was met with so much apathy and lack of interest from certain individuals and Alert, which is now claiming to have spearheaded it. It also speaks volumes about the credibility and caliber of such organisations.
“For them to want to claim credit for the occasion after it turned out to be a success is completely outrageous, unfair and disrespectful to the real organizers and contributors, especially GRAD, which was the major sponsor. Other contributors included Stanbic, Tongabezi, Game Rangers International, Grassroots Trust, Ranan Trading and the Livingstone Majorettes.”
And the Wildlife Authority has warned individuals trying to use the wildlife for personnel gratification as the industry is not a playground for amassing personal wealth from well wishers.
She also notes that the industry has been exploited for a long time hence the need for people to discourage by all well meaning Zambians.
“ZAWA would like to warn that the Wildlife industry and Zambia as a whole is not a playground for NGOs seeking to fulfil selfish motives, or those which are only interested in amassing personal wealth from well-wishers.
The industry has for a long time been subject to such shameless exploitation, and this shall not be tolerated. ZAWA is always happy to give credit to deserving partners. But any attempts by some organisations to reap where they did not sow shall not be allowed to continue,” she said.
She added, “The Authority is also very keen to partner with organisations that are honest, fair and with a genuine desire and passion for conservation of the country’s wildlife and natural resources. This is critical for the benefit of communities, not only locally, but across continents.
ZAWA understands that Zambia and Africa in general holds the last hope for the preservation and sustainability of our environment, wildlife and natural resource. The entire human species depends on the preservation and conservation of this limited resource for survival.”

Monday, 18 August 2014

Shearwater opens new restaurant in Vic Falls

One of the leading tour and adventure operators in Victoria Falls – Shearwater Adventures – has opened another restaurant in the resort town christened Shearwater Café, Southern Eye Business has established.
A Shearwater official said the opening of the new outlet is intended to consolidate the company’s growing customer base in the resort town.
The restaurant, which has a seating capacity of 120 people, opened its doors to the public on Tuesday, but the official opening is scheduled for next month.
In an interview with Southern Eye Business yesterday, Shearwater group public relations manager, Clement Mukwasi said the restaurant was unique and would boost the company’s revenue.
“The restaurant is unique and it offers all types of food you might think of.
“We offer all types of European, Spanish, Chinese and Indian as well as domestic food. There is no other restaurant in Victoria Falls offering this kind of stuff. Others just offer domestic food,” Mukwasi said.
He said business at the moment was booming ahead of the Southern African Development Community heads of State summit which starts today.
Flights into Victoria Falls have reportedly increased by 13% as compared to last year during the same period.
Mukwasi revealed that Shearwater had partnered with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority and other stakeholders to complement their services.
Shearwater, established in 1982, owns and operates most of the activities available in Victoria Falls including helicopters, cruises, bridge activities, rafting, safari activities and restaurants (Helipad and Rainforest Café).
The company has a well-developed destination infrastructure and a team of over 200 staff based in Victoria Falls, Livingstone (Zambia) and Kasane.
Recently, it upgraded its vehicle fleet and has a wide variety of game drive vehicles, buses and microbuses at its disposal for tours and transfer requirements.

Kazungula Bridge Project faces P710m funding gap

The Botswana Government is facing a mammoth P710 million bill to cover a funding gap for the construction of the Kazungula Bridge following the pulling out of the Japanese financiers.

Funded by loans from the African Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as well as contributions from both Zambia and Botswana governments, the project’s ground breaking was initially scheduled for last month.

But the construction of the multi-billion Pula Kazungula Bridge is now only likely to begin towards the end of the year after JICA pulled out of the project over a ten- der valuation dispute.

“The funding gap for Botswana after JICA pulled out of Package 1 is $81 million (P710 million), which the Government of Botswana will finance under the Domestic Development Fund.

“Likewise, the Government of Zambia will find an alternative source of funding to fill the financing gap,” said Kgomotso Makwati, the public relations officer at the Ministry of Transport and communication. According to information obtained by the Business Week, at the centre at the dispute which led to JICA pulling out, was a disagreement over the technical evaluation of bids from three shortlisted firms. The firms included a joint venture between Japan’s Shimizu and South African Stefanutti, South Korea’s Daewoo and China Major Bridge Corporation.

The bridge construction project, including the one stop border posts as well as relocation of villagers on the Zambian side is expected to take four years at a cost of $259 million (P2.3 billion).

According to Morekisi, the two governments have since decided to award the tender for the construction of the bridge to Daewoo for $161 million, while other components of the project which include the building of two one-stop board er posts are still to be awarded.

Zambia, Botswana and Daewoo representatives were expected to meet in Livingstone, Zambia this week, where detailson the scope of work, procurement rules and contract terms were to be thrashed out. If negotiations with Daewoo are successful, the issue will be re- ferred back to political leaders with the contract mostly likely to be signed by September or October.

Source: Govt faces P710m Kazungula funding gap, Mmegi (15/08/14)

Sunday, 17 August 2014

SADC summit opens, urged to focus on integration

SADC is a regional organization that aims to promote sustainable and equitable socio-economic development in southern Africa. Mugabe urged the regional bloc to focus on programs they can fund from our own resources

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe inaugurated on Sunday the 34th summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) with a call for the 15 member states to focus on regional integration.

"As SADC, we should not lose sight of our regional integration agenda, our focus and priorities," host Mugabe, who assumed chairmanship of the regional bloc from Malawian counterpart Peter Mutharika, told the opening session.

"We also should not be tempted to introduce or embrace too many programs which in the end we fail to fund from our own resources," he added.

The two-day summit is being held in Zimbabwe's resort town of Victoria Falls.

The leaders will discuss key issues affecting their 15-member grouping, including regional integration, economic cooperation, intra-regional trade and Ebola scare.

SADC is a 15-member regional grouping that aims to promote sustainable and equitable socio-economic development in southern Africa.

It is managed by a Troika that comprises the current, the incoming and the immediate previous SADC summit chairpersons.

Prior to the 34th summit, SADC troika was made up of current chair President Mutharika, incoming chair President Mugabe and immediate previous chair President Guebuza.

According to its website, SADC's 15 member states have an estimated combined population of 277 million and GDP of around $575.5 billion.

The bloc was able to launch a Free Trade Area (FTA) as planned in 2008, with only Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Seychelles yet to join.

But the grouping lags behind in other economic landmarks, including the Customs Union, which was expected to be launched in 2010.

It is seeking to see a Common Market by 2015, Monetary Union by 2016 and a Single Currency by 2018.

Independence

Mugabe said that the ongoing review to the Regional Integrated Strategic Development Program (RISDP) should not be a mere academic exercise, but a reality check which should redirect the region.

He said the review should result in focusing on fewer programs that are core to the vision of regional integration.

He criticized continued reliance on the generosity and goodwill of cooperating partners.

"How can we proudly claim SADC to be our own organization when close to 60 percent of the programs are externally funded?" Mugabe asked fellow leaders.

He also touched on a slow down on market integration with much focus on the ongoing consolidation of the SADC Free Trade Area.

"We, however, remain concerned about the persistently skewed trade imbalance amongst member states, which further justifies the pursuance of robust industrialization policies across the region, if we are to create jobs and curb labor migration," said Mugabe.

He said they were inspired by Tripartite Free Trade Area which seeks to establish an integrated market covering 26 countries in eastern and southern Africa with a combined population of almost 600 million people and a total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about $1 trillion.

It comprises the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East African Community (EAC) and SADC.

"The prospect of an expanded market and the exploitation of our comparative advantage within the tripartite arrangement can only stimulate intra-Africa trade and lend itself to a multiplier effect on our earnings," Mugabe said.

Source: SADC summit opens, urged to focus on integration (17/08/14)

Monday, 11 August 2014

Vic Falls Hotels (Zim) Fully Booked for August Summit

This year's SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government to be hosted by Zimbabwe from August 17-18 has been highly subscribed, with some countries intending to bring more than 100 delegates, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority CEO Mr Karikoga Kaseke has said.
As a result, some SADC countries have failed to get accommodation in Victoria Falls for some of their delegates. Mr Kaseke said the majority of Zimbabweans who will be attending the summit would be staying in Hwange, some 100 kilometres away.
Landlords have also availed their houses to accommodate delegates, which will see them earning extra money.
In an interview on Wednesday, Mr Kaseke said the tourism sector in the resort town and surrounding areas would benefit immensely from the summit. "The hotels are full," he said. So far, South Africa does not have accommodation for 85 rooms, Tanzania does not have accommodation for 20 rooms, Botswana does not have accommodation for 15 rooms. The countries that are coming, are coming with huge numbers. Even those with good private houses here have also been taken and Hwange is full as well."
Mr Kaseke said Zimbabwe's tourism sector benefited greatly from co-hosting with Zambia the United Nations World Trade Organisation General Assembly in August last year and the Routes Africa 2014 conference in June. "So, it's good, we must push more and more not only in Victoria Falls, even in Bulawayo and Harare," he said. "This is the opportunity that we have as Zimbabwe to attract a lot of business tourism. Next week we are also having in Harare an international convention for the Jehovah's Witness which has taken Harare by storm. Every hotel and lodge in Harare is fully booked, so we need to have these types of conferences as a country."
Government has already indicated that it expects 450 delegates to attend the SADC Summit, with 700 guests expected to grace the opening and closing sessions.
The summit will be held under the theme: "SADC Strategy for Economic Transformation: Leveraging the Region's Diverse Resources for Sustainable Economic and Social Development through Beneficiation and Value Addition".
The official opening of the Summit of the Heads of State and Government will take place on August 17 before a banquet where superstar Oliver Mtukudzi is expected to serenade the delegates.
Meanwhile, Government has put the cost of hosting the 34th SADC Summit at between US$2 million and US$4 million, Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi has said.
He said this while addressing journalists after briefing 13 ambassadors from Sadc countries on the progress of summit preparations at his Munhumutapa offices yesterday afternoon.
Minister Mumbengegwi said the equipment and infrastructure acquired would remain national assets and should, therefore, not be viewed as a waste of resources.
Cde Mumbengegwi paid tribute to the private sector for its co-operation and support to ensure that the summit was a resounding success. "Our private sector has been absolutely excellent. The extent they have come in to support this effort is impressive indeed and I would like to publicly express Government's appreciation," he said.
Source: Vic Falls Hotels Fully Booked for Summitt - AllAfrica (08/08/14)











Water war bubbling up between Zimbabwe and Botswana

Botswana's move to draw water from the Zambezi River without an agreement by all parties to the Zambezi Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM) Protocol has sparked a water war with Zimbabwe and other affected countries.

Zimbabwe fears the abstraction of the water from the Zambezi upstream will reduce the downstream flow of the Zambezi affecting the country's premier resort spot - the Victoria Falls and Lake Kariba which generates power for the country.

Details of the dispute which has heated up emerged at a national stakeholders' workshop on the sustainable use of Zimbabwe's wetlands which was held yesterday in the capital.

Participants at the workshop which was organised by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate, the Environmental Management Agency and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) heard that Botswana had set up water abstraction works at the confluence of Chobe River and the Zambezi River violating the ZAMCOM Protocol.

The protocol demands that a country should seek the consent of all eight riparian member states (Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia and Angola) before it can draw water from the Zambezi River.

"One presenter here said Zimbabwe was not involved in a war over water unlike some countries in the Middle East which once went to war over water, I am afraid that the opposite could be true as a conflict of water is bubbling up," said one senior water expert in the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate without naming the country.

"A member of ZAMCOM has taken upon himself to draw water from the Zambezi River without the consent of other parties. The plan by this member will endanger our ecosystem, our wildlife and even the future survival of the Victoria Falls."

"Little did we know that the member state had gone ahead to draw the water despite the fact that Zimbabwe had offered the country to draw water downstream of the Victoria Falls.

"Zimbabwe is preparing itself to go to war over the utilisation of the Zambezi waters!" Media reports indicate that Botswana had for years been considering to negotiate for shared water resources with other riparian states to meet its growing water demands.

The country is said to have pressed ahead with the plan to draw water from the Zambezi after it exhausted all its suitable sites for dam construction.

Botswana has a major water infrastructure that carries water from Letsibogo dam in the northern part of the country to the southern part over a distance of more than 400km to Gaborone. The move to the confluence of the Chobe River and the Zambezi River is an extension of this project.

In an interview with the European Times recently, Botswana's Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources Onkokame Kitso Mokaila confirmed his country's plans to tap water from the Zambezi River when asked about how his country sought to ensure adequate supplies of clean water in the coming years.

"We have quite a few dams in northern Botswana but we do not have adequate infrastructure to bring the water to the southern part of the country, so the government has fasttracked development of this infrastructure," he was quoted saying.

"We have negotiated treaties with other countries to tap 495 cubic metres of water from the Zambezi River for agriculture and drinking, and we are in the process of tendering to build the water pipeline."

Environment, Water and Climate Deputy Minister Engineer Simon Musanhu said he was aware of the dispute over the Zambezi waters but did not have full details.

"I do not have the full report as yet but it's about the issue of Botswana drawing water from upstream of the Zambezi for its own use," he said.

"We still don't have much information but we know is that they went ahead to draw water from the Zambezi (allegedly) without the knowledge of other parties.

"It's a sensitive matter and we are still to engage them over the matter."

The dispute has heated up and both sides are said to be engaged in intense discussion to resolve all misunderstandings.

The Zambezi watercourse is of particular importance in the region because it is shared by eight countries with a total population of over 50 million.

Source: Water war bubbling up between Zimbabwe and Botswana - Bulawayo24 (08/08/14)

Two tourists injured in light-plane crash, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Two Australian tourists and a German pilot reportedly escaped with 'some injuries' after their Cessna plane crashed soon after take-off from Victoria Falls International Airport yesterday.

The tourists, who were on their way to Hwange National Park en-route to Mana Pools, are admitted at Chinotimba Medical Centre and Victoria Falls District Hospital, respectively.

Sources close to the incident said the four-seater plane developed engine failure soon after take-off.

The plane crashed into a field near Lupinyu Business Centre.

"The plane developed an engine failure soon after take-off at Victoria Falls international airport around 11 am," said a villager who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We saw it passing but immediately it turned back and was moving at a very low speed. Soon after, we heard a loud bang near our fields and we ran and we saw it hitting trees as it crashed. We then attended the scene and rescued the victims."

Sources said the pilot communicated that he was turning back after noting problems with the engine.

"The crash happened a few minutes after take-off and the pilot communicated that he was turning back because the plane was having engine problems. However, he failed to reach the airport and crash landed into a field," said a source.

The tourists, the villagers said, seemed to have sustained serious injuries because they were bleeding profusely.

"We managed to pull them out of the wreckage before the arrival of the ambulances that later rushed them to hospital in Victoria Falls," said a villager.

Source: 4 injured in plane crash - Bulawayo24 (11/08/14)

Tender dispute stalls Kazungula Bridge

Construction of the multi-billion Pula Kazungula Bridge is only likely to begin towards the end of the year after Japanese financiers pulled out of the project over a tender valuation dispute.

Funded by loans from the African Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as well as contributions from both the governments of Zambia and Botswana, the project’s ground breaking was initially scheduled for last month.

Information obtained by the BusinessWeek shows that before a tender could be awarded, a dispute arose early this year over the technical evaluation of bids from three shortlisted firms. The firms included a joint venture between Japan’s Shimizu and South African Stefanutti, South Korea’s Daewoo and China Major Bridge Corporation.

“The delays in the construction of the Kazungula Bridge Project was mainly due to the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the financier of the Project disagreeing to the Technical Evaluation of the three bids which were submitted for the bridge, requesting for a re-evaluation.

“In April 2014, Ministers of Transport of the two member states met with the Japanese delegation in Kasane to discuss the issues surrounding the tender evaluation. Following the meeting, the member states agreed to award the contract without the support of JICA,” said Transport Hub Coordinator Goitsemang Morekisi.

The bridge construction project including the one stop border posts as well as relocation of villagers on the Zambian side is expected to take four years at a cost of $259 million (P2.3 billion). According to Morekisi, the two governments have since decided to award the tender for the construction of the bridge to Daewoo, while other components of the project which include the building of two one stop border posts are still to be awarded. JICA was supposed to have invested over $110 million into the whole project but efforts by BusinessWeek to establish the bridge component funding were unsuccessful.

With the disagreement confined to the bids for the bridge component only, Morekisi said that JICA is still expected to fund other components of the project.

The surprise pulling of the Japanese agency, which has been involved with the project from conception, has left the government of Botswana and Zambia with a funding gap on the project.

“An award of the contract for package 1, which refers to the bridge only, was made to Daewoo E&C at the sum of $ 162 million (P1.4 billion) on the 26th July 2014,” she said.

A meeting between Zambia and Botswana officials and Daewoo representatives in Livingstone, Zambia is now slated for August 11, where details on the scope of works, procurement rules and contract terms are expected to be thrashed out.

If negotiations with Daewoo are successful, the issue will be referred back to political leaders with the contract mostly likely to be signed by September or October. Speaking after a tour of the bridge site recently, African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka expressed concern over the huge economic cost to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region caused by delays in constructing the Bridge.

During his visit to the project on July 26, 2014 Kaberuka saw first-hand, a long queue of trucks waiting to cross from both sides of the border at Kazungula. Transporters are using old ferries (pontoons) to move goods and vehicles across the Zambezi River at the Kazungula border crossing between Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

“Kazungula Bridge Project is the most important undertaking that the Bank is currently financing on the continent,” Kaberuka said, adding: “It is unacceptable to have about 100 trucks on either side of the Zambezi River taking up to two weeks at the border posts before crossing.” He stressed the need to accelerate the resolution of any pending procurement and administrative issues delaying the start of bridge construction.

On average, 70 trucks cross with the ferry (pontoon) per day. The AfDB President also visited the Lumbo village-housing scheme on the Zambian side where the affected families will be resettled in the newly built permanent houses as compensation.

Source: Tender dispute stalls Kazungula Bridge, Mmegi Online (08/08/14)

Thursday, 7 August 2014

3 guards murdered in robbery at tourism company (Livingstone, Zambia)

Criminals in Livingstone strangled three security guards to death and blew a safe with dynamite at tourism operator Baoka Sky, before getting away with K48,000 cash.

Engineer Zulu aged 35 of Linda Compound, Masiliso Sikombwa 35 of Dambwa Site and Service and Adam Siateba of Linda Compound, all working for Panorama Security were strangled with sisal ropes between 01:00 hours and 02:00 hours this morning.

Southern Province Police Commissioner Mary Chikwanda said the victims were found tied up with sisal ropes around their necks.

“I can confirm that a very un-fortunate incident occurred at Batoka Sky Adventures where three security guards belonging to Panorama Security Company, were strangled and the criminals went away with K48,000 cash,” Ms Chikwanda said. “Unfortunately, the trio were alone at the Batoka Sky premises when the incident occurred and the suspects are on the run,” she said.

Ms Chikwanda said two of the victims were found already dead in the morning while the other one died on arrival at Livingstone General Hospital.

She said the unfortunate incident was as a result of companies engaging security firms that had no capacity to combat serious crime.

Panorama Security Company is one of several professional private security operations who offer security services to local businesses and inidviduals. Presumably gaurds are are fully trained in handling and reacting to emergency situations and the have support and backup from mobile units. There would also have been security alarm systems on site and security on neighbouring properties.

Ms Chikwanda has since advised companies that keep huge sums of money at their premises to engage proper security companies that are armed in order to safeguard both property and lives.

Batoka Sky is part of Livingstone’s Adventure Group of Companies.

Three Batoka Sky guards strangled to death - Lusaka Voice (5/08/14)

Monday, 4 August 2014

African Development Bank calls for urgent action on Kazungula Bridge Project

African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka expressed concern over the huge economic cost to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region caused by delays in constructing the Kazungula Bridge, during his visit to the project on Saturday, July 26, 2014. The President saw first-hand, a long queue of trucks waiting to cross from both sides of the border crossing at Kazungula.

Transporters are using old ferries (pontoons) to move goods and vehicles across the Zambezi River at the Kazungula border crossing between Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Kazungula Bridge is a multi-national project on the North-South corridor on the Zambezi River. The bridge construction is expected to take four years at a cost of US $259 million. The project is being funded by loans from the African Development Bank, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as well as contributions from both the Governments of Zambia and Botswana.

“Kazungula Bridge Project is the most important project that the Bank is currently financing on the continent,” Kaberuka said, adding: “It is unacceptable to have about 100 trucks on either side of the Zambezi River taking up to two weeks at the border posts before crossing.” He stressed the need to accelerate the resolution of any pending procurement and administrative issues delaying the start of bridge construction. On average, 70 trucks cross with the ferry (pontoon) per day.

The AfDB President also visited the Lumbo village housing scheme on the Zambian side where the affected families will be resettled in the newly built permanent houses as compensation.

Kaberuka visited the Botswana side of the border and held meetings with Botswanan and Zambian authorities at Muwana Resort in Chobe at Kasane. In a briefing meeting at Kasane, Kaberuka pledged the Bank’s continued support to this project. He further stated that the Bank stands ready to bridge any financing gap should the two governments approach the Bank for further assistance.

Accompanying the President were Robert Sichinga, Zambia’s Minister of Commerce Trade and Industry, and Nonofo Molefhi, Botswana’s Minister of Transport and Communication. Also in the delegation were Zambia’s Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications, Mwimba Malama, and Permanent Secretaries from Zambia and Botswana responsible for Transport and Communications.

Source: President Kaberuka calls for urgent action on the Kazungula Bridge Project, ADB 30/07/14)