Rundu thatch hub a white elephant

Rundu thatch hub a white elephant
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NAMPA

The N$50 million thatch hub established at Rundu to formalise the thatch grass industry, particularly in the north-eastern regions, has become a white elephant.
The hub, which was initiated by the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development through the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC), was completed in 2016 but has not yet started operating.
Small-scale thatch grass harvesters who were expecting to benefit from the initiative told NAMPA they hoped to increase sales by joining the hub.
Fransina Ihemba and Maria Mungowa who harvest in the Ndiyona Constituency and at Ncamagoro village, both sell thatch grass to contribute to the survival of their families.
Minister of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development Tjekero Tweya told NAMPA on Wednesday that the hub now falls under the Namibia Industrial Development Agency (NIDA).
A source who wanted to remain anonymous due to fears of victimisation said the ministry leased the building out to a private operator, Pontty Kathumbi, a town planner at the Rundu Town Council.
Approached for comment, Kathumbi said there were still "outstanding logistics" on the part of NIDA before he can start operating.