Renovation of historic Ritterburg Building in Swakopmund set to begin

Niël Terblanché

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT) is in the final stages of appointing a contractor for the much-awaited renovation of the iconic Ritterburg office building in Swakopmund.

The MEFT’s spokesperson, Romeo Muyunda said in a statement that the ministry is close to completing the tender process, with renovation works expected to start between April and May, aiming for completion by August or September 2024.

The Ritterburg Building, a historic monument listed under the Heritage Council of Namibia, has fallen into a state of disrepair over the years.

“Securing the necessary resources for this renovation has been a primary focus for the ministry,” Muyunda said.

The project, which is estimated to cost around N$2.6 million, is not just about restoring the building but also ensuring it continues to serve tourists efficiently.

This renovation is part of the ongoing development interventions in coastal parks under the Namparks V Project, implemented by the MEFT.

The project is co-financed by the Federal Republic of Germany through the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via KfW Development Bank.

“We recognize the importance of maintaining such a monumental building, especially considering its role in servicing tourists. We are committed to restoring and improving this building as soon as possible,” Muyunda added.

In addition to the Ritterburg renovation, the Ministry has also expanded its Swakopmund office with the construction of a new office block, which began in 2015.

This project, currently 83 percent complete, faced setbacks due to poor work quality by the initial contractor and long procurement delays. The new office building is now on track to be finished by April 2024.

The MEFT has also earmarked N$5 million for the renovation and expansion of its Walvis Bay office. This project is expected to commence this year, following the completion of the tender process.

Muyunda acknowledged the challenges posed by the current economic situation in Namibia.

“There are many competing priorities in the country, and the Ministry is dedicated to attending to these as resources permit. It is not our intention to have public infrastructure in a dilapidated state. We are constantly striving to allocate financial resources efficiently for the maintenance and development of our infrastructure,” he stated.

The planned renovations and expansions are a testament to the Ministry’s commitment to preserving Namibia’s heritage and improving its public service infrastructure.

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