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Vacant mass houses still not ready for occupation, says Ministry

Vacant mass houses still not ready for occupation, says Ministry

Staff Reporter

THE Ministry of Urban and Rural Development has said that a total of 362 dwelling units constructed under the Government-funded Mass Housing Development Programme, located in Otjomuise, extension 10, are not ready for occupation.

This comes after local activist Michael Amushelelo urged those living in shacks and without homes to gather on February 10, 2024, to register their names for occupation of the houses. Daniel Nghindinua, the executive director within the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, explained that the project, consisting of a total of 362 dwelling units (standalone houses and apartment blocks), was scheduled to reach practical completion in December 2017 but could not due to a legal dispute that arose between the parties to the project, the contractor, and the Government represented by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.

PICTURED: Some of the mass houses built by the government in Otjomuise, extension 10. Photo: Contributed

“The dispute ended up in court. The parties have since engaged bilaterally and through the courts over the past years to secure a solution. The last engagement through the court was in November 2023, at which the court directed the Ministry to work out and submit, before May 2024, a variation order detailing all the works and cost estimates (variation order/bill of quantities) for the outstanding critical works that need to be done for the project to reach practical completion. This exercise requires the services of a multi-disciplinary team of engineers,” Nghindinua said.

He added that the houses and dwelling units in the apartment blocks have reached reasonable stages of completion construction-wise but are not ready and fit for occupation as they are not yet connected to bulk services (sewer, water, and electricity network lines).

“Overall, the project has not yet reached the final completion stage because the bulk services component to which the houses are to be connected is not yet in place. The Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, with the support of the Ministry of Works and Transport, is at an advanced stage to procure the services of a multi-disciplinary team of engineers who will design the services to be installed and supervise the construction process. Without these bulk services connections, the houses are not ready and fit for occupation as the occupants will not have access to such critical services. The Government is doing everything possible to expedite the remaining processes so that the project can reach practical completion and for the houses to be ready for occupation in the shortest possible time,” the ED said.

He concluded that the Government remains committed to creating opportunities for decent housing for needy Namibians directly through the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, local authorities, and regional councils as well as through agencies and partners such as the National Housing Enterprises (NHE), the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN), and public-private partnerships (PPPs).

“Various land and housing development initiatives are in place and being implemented in various local authority areas in the country, with specific focus on the needs of the ultra-low- and low-income segment of our population. One such initiative running in Windhoek is the Informal Settlement Upgrading Housing Project, jointly funded by the Ministry, Khomas Regional Council, NHE, and the Windhoek Municipality. The project has provided and continues to provide access to decent and affordable housing for hundreds of residents of the capital city. These and other similar initiatives in Windhoek and other regions of the country are a testimony of the unwavering commitment and resolve of the Government and its agencies to attend to the plight of those fellow Namibians who are still in need of a decent and affordable place to stay,” Nghindinua said.

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