RUNDU – The Rundu town council has written to the Development Bank of Namibia where it expressed displeasure over the recently auctioned incomplete houses from a failed private-public partnership agreement between Plato Investments and DBN. About 40 incomplete houses were recently auctioned in Extension 3 and council said it will not authorise or permit any construction or occupation of the houses until the municipal services are fully completed in accordance with the council’s building standards.
“The Rundu town council learned that the Development Bank of Namibia auctioned the uncompleted houses on erf 1113 in Rundu Extension 3. The council was not duly informed on the process followed, hence the municipal services on these properties are not completed,” said the notice sent to DBN. “We, therefore, inform all the new owners or occupants of this structures to approach the DBN or the auctioneers directly on the uncompleted municipal services.” The council further indicated that all uncompleted and unoccupied structures would be inspected prior to the commencement of any construction or renovations upon completion and only when there is a fully functional municipal service (sewer) occupation is allowed. DBN declined to comment on the issue and referred this reporter to the auctioneer EXECUTRUST who also did not respond to questions sent. The project initially started in 2010 by acquiring land and in 2011, the servicing started followed by the construction but years later came to a halt due to lack of funds which later led to DBN instituting legal proceedings against the project.
The initial developer told New Era that the liquidator is dealing with the issue of the sewer pump station. “They are busy with it to see how to sort it out to hand it over to council for maintenance,” said Agapitus Haushiku from the now liquidated Plato Investments.
The land was initially a public open space and Plato Investments applied to council to rezone it to general residential, which council agreed to.
“We got the land through DBN funding and we applied for additional funding to DBN but they could not give us the total funds of loan required because we did not have a guarantee. Initially, the loan was N$10 million, including the servicing and to construct the first 14 houses, which were completed, which also included the sale of the land,” he said.
“But then we said how do we move from the N$10 million to the next N$10 million because the total would have been N$20 million to finish the whole project? DBN said ‘you guys can proceed when you complete the first 14 houses after selling. We re-evaluate the project and we give you the additional funding’ so we did the first phase,’’ Haushiku said.
Haushiku said the first DBN funds also paid council for the land, the first loan also included developing the streets, electricity and the septic tank for the sewer.
“In phase two, we did the sewer pump station, which we could not do in phase one as we only installed the electric motor, it is a submergible pump but the pump cannot pump because the switch has been vandalised and currently, they manually pump the sewer,” he said. Haushiku said, the whole pump setup can also work without a pump and is designed to allow overflow for five days, but after five days, it needs to be pumped out if sewerage isn’t flowing automatically but currently it always gets pumped weekly.
Haushiku further told New Era the project got halted as the last phase could not be funded by DBN but when funds came in from Business Financial Solutions (BFS), Nampro Fund, two developers, Sahara and Armstrong also came on board and the arrangement was Sahara Investments takes over the project funded by BFS so that they can complete it for Plato Investments.
“And they funded Sahara to complete the project but Sahara could also not complete and that’s when the legal issue came in from DBN,’’ he noted.
“The best way forward was to liquidate Plato Investments as the initial developer and make way for the properties to go on auction and then pay the creditors and the buyers of the auctioned properties finish the properties themselves,” he said.