Pohamba Hands Over Houses At Walvis Bay

EIGHTY-NINE houses built under the mass housing programme were handed over to their new owners in Walvis Bay yesterday by President Hifikepunye Pohamba.

A total of 1 595 houses of different categories are being constructed in Walvis Bay during the first phase of the programme.

The houses that were handed over are part of 1 000 that were supposed to have been completed and handed over long ago.

The handover was done a year after Pohamba officially launched the multi-billion dollar programme, and three days ahead of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.

Pohamba said the purpose of the mass housing programme was to address the shortage as well as reduce the backlog.

“Despite teething problems, the programme has gained momentum and more houses will be handed over in the next few months,” Pohamba said.

He warned that all contractors must comply with quality standards and that he does not want to see the houses falling apart within two years.

Pohamba called on municipalities not to just speed up the servicing of land, but also to monitor the quality of the structures.

The President assured the nation that the government will subsidise up to 60% of the cost of the houses to make it possible for ordinary Namibians to own houses.

He said that houses will be provided at a first come first served basis.

“Don’t think because you know someone you can jump the queue before others. This is corruption and we must not allow that,” he warned. “Those who were in line first will be helped first.”

Minister of Regional and Local Government and Housing and Rural Development Charles Namoloh said the handover was done to avoid a situation where houses stand idle for long.

“Given the huge number of houses involved before the whole project is formerly completed, and to avoid a situation where houses are standing empty idle for long, we arranged for the handover of fully completed houses,” he said.

He said that he will “not pretend for a minute that things are going smoothly” with regards to the mass housing programme. “Due to its complexity, housing is what is referred to as an adaptive challenge, and the process of trying to solve the challenge would involve and require experiments in some cases, and new discoveries and adjustments in the process. We did not have all the capacities and tools in place when we started, but had to build these as we went along,” he said.

Another challenge, he explained, was that the implementation of the programme did not only involve central government but also local authorities, the private sector as well as small-scale contractors who also faced constraints.

In order to address these challenges, his ministry commissioned a ‘housing needs assessment study’.

“Everything requires resources. We will be able to construct more houses and serve more needy people in a short span of time if more financial resources are mobilised from the national budget and through the mutually beneficial public private partnership arrangement,” he said.

Source : The Namibian