Govt representatives noticeably absent from housing conference

OTAVI: Several local authority councillors who attended the mass housing conference in Otavi on Saturday expressed disappointment at the absence of representatives from the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development.

The Otavi Investment Expo and Festival’s organising community invited various local authority councillors and chief executive officers to the conference on Government’s Mass Housing Development Programme.

The chairperson of the Otavi Investment Expo and Festival, Rino Muranda said three directors in the ministry were invited, as were Lands Minister Charles Namoloh and Permanent Secretary Sirkka Ausiku.

Muranda noted that Namoloh had delegated his Deputy Minister, Priscilla Beukes to officiate at the official opening of the conference, but she left shortly after the opening.

President Hifikepunye Pohamba on 26 November 2013 launched Government’s Mass Housing Development Programme in the capital.

He said Government through the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) envisions building more than 185 000 houses across the country in less than 17 years.

Some of the local authority councillors in attendance at the mass housing conference on Saturday asked the moderator of the proceedings, Dr Leake Hangala to explain to them why the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development was not represented at the conference.

City of Windhoek councillor Elaine Trepper wanted to know who represented the ministry at the conference, and it was found that there were no representatives. Trepper then asked that her concerns be noted and forwarded to the ministry.

She also said there are issues on the mass housing programme that need clarity, such as what the processes of acquiring a house through the programme entails.

She said Government should also clarify who gives directives to all the local authority councils and the NHE technical team.

Trepper wanted how the serviced town land is going to be sold, and how the local authority councils are to profit from such land.

“We need the ministry to officially write letters to all local authority councils on how this programme is going to be conducted,” the former mayor of Windhoek stated.

Oshakati local authority councillor Katrina Shimbulu also expressed concern about how contractors working on the mass housing programme are being appointed.

“We are not against the mass housing programme, but we only see contractors on the sites starting to build houses in our towns, we don’t know how they are being appointed, and who appointed them,” said Shimbulu.

She noted that when she questioned contractors working in Oshakati, she was told that they (contractors) do not report to her council.

Another councillor from the City of Windhoek, Gerson Kamatuka said some contractors have apparently approached different town councils wanting to build houses on residential plots that are not yet serviced.

He was also concerned about the appointment process, especially since some contractors allegedly want to build on unserviced land.

All concerns were noted and are expected to be forwarded to the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development.

The conference ended on Saturday.