Shoddy Workmanship Blights Mass Housing

President Hifikepunye Pohamaba says some of the houses being constructed under the multi-billion dollar mass housing scheme at Walvis Bay are sub-standard and of a poor quality.

Government launched the ambitious N$45 billion mass housing development programme in September last year, through which it intends to build 185 000 houses by 2030 to alleviate the present nationwide housing deficit that stands at 100 000 housing units.

The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) has been mandated to build low-cost houses for low-income earners and even for middle-income and high-income earners. The president’s remarks echo growing concerns by others over the poor workmanship of some contractors. Many contractors are not held responsible for their shoddy work when the buildings and roads that they construct fall apart shortly after construction. Pohamba made the remarks on Friday after paying a surprise visit to the mass housing project currently underway in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.

Pohamba said the mass housing project is progressing very well in terms of quantity, but also indicated that he is worried about the poor quality of some of the houses that have been constructed. He said Namibians should learn from the Chinese and work extra hours in order to produce quality work. “Look at the mass housing project. I have observed that quantity is what we have, but quality is lacking and still Namibians complain that they don’t get tenders. We gave them clinics and classrooms to build, which they finish in six months, but go and look at those buildings. They have cracks in the walls and even in the floors, yet they complain if we decide not to make use of them and rather give the tenders to the Chinese. Those that are delivering sub-standard work should also be given a warning,” the president said.

He further urged Namibians to assist the government in reducing unemployment and poverty. Meanwhile, some contractors also raised concerns over the lack of skills among some sub-contractors and workers on the project, saying it poses a serious challenge. “We are trying to give everyone a chance to get a job and gain experience in the construction industry. We understand that most SMEs here do not have enough skills and we are here to groom them,” said one contractor.

Source : New Era