We Are Not Red Cross – Venaani

REAL estate businessman Collin Venaani says he cannot stop his lavish lifestyle just because he received a N$441 million mass housing tender as he has been living that way all these years.

Venaani, DTA president McHenry Venaani’s younger brother, told The Namibian last Friday that his lifestyle does not stem from the tender he received but has resulted from his “hard work” over the past seven years.

The businessman, who turns 32 this year, said proof that he does not rely on the mass housing tender for his lavish lifestyle is the fact that he has lived in one of the most expensive Windhoek suburbs – Auasblick – for close to six years.

“I have been driving a Range Rover worth N$1,3 million since 2010. I bought another Range Rover last year worth N$2,3 million. And now people want to tell me that I can’t afford a Bentley [his latest acquisition],” Venaani said.

Venaani said his Bentley, a 2014 model, costs N$5,2 million.

The Namibian reported last Friday that several middlemen who received mass housing tenders went on shopping sprees and are showing off their luxury vehicles.

Venaani admitted that he owns the Bentley in the picture that aroused interest on social networking sites. The vehicle’s bonnet was laden with money. He, however, said his cars are also used by some musicians and friends to shot their music videos.

He also boasted being one of the few black developers who bought land on auction from the City of Windhoek before the practice was stopped about two years ago.

Venaani said he started buying old houses in Windhoek, renovating and

selling them. He said that he used the money his late mother left him.

“I struggled to break into this market which is dominated by white people,” he said.

Besides the N$441million mass housing project he was given to build 1 595 houses in Walvis Bay, Venaani said he is also working on a housing project at Okahandja and in some upmarket suburbs of Windhoek.

Government has compiled a new mass housing price guideline that proposes lower charges per square metre to curb the exorbitant charges made by the companies which won the tenders.

Venaani charged N$5 700 per square metre in each housing category which means he will be part of the companies that will have to re-negotiate their deals.

The businessman, however, said he will look at the offers but said “it should be realistic”. He also said the houses at Walvis Bay are almost complete and the handover will be done soon.

He claims that they are not making as much money as people think, although he declined to provide the exact figures saying he has not calculated the amount yet and that he is only making “fair enough” profit.

“We are not Red Cross and we cannot work for free,” he said.

His friendship with Namibian Housing Enterprise chairman, Jason Nandago, was under scrutiny last month, but Venaani said “the chairman did not influence the decision by NHE to give me the tender because he does not sit on the tender board”.

The mass housing sites where he is working have not been without drama. At one point last month, some workers who earn between N$8 and N$12 per hour complained about low salaries, and downed tools for some days. He said the people who were complaining were those whose contracts were discontinued because of non-performance.

Venaani claimed that he employed 28 sub-contractors, who in turn, employed close to 300 people and that he owns 80% of the 7 Sirs joint venture with a South African company.

Source : The Namibian