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Home / Govt denies mass housing failure… 4 130 houses built, 891 unoccupied 

Govt denies mass housing failure… 4 130 houses built, 891 unoccupied 

2022-08-09  Edward Mumbuu

Govt denies mass housing failure… 4 130 houses built, 891 unoccupied 

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has dismissed assertions government has no political will to address the housing crisis, saying through the mass housing initiative alone, 4 130 houses were completed and handed over to beneficiaries. 

She was responding to a letter by official opposition leader in the National Assembly, McHenry Venaani, who threatened to mobilise Namibians to demonstrate and possibly, occupy empty mass houses countrywide. 

For Venaani, it was uncalled for that Namibians are forced to live in shacks, without basic services while complete houses paid for by taxpayers are empty, seven years after completion. 

“How do you and other senior government officials sleep at night, knowing that seven years after the completion of these houses, there are Namibians in need [but] who cannot be accommodated in these houses?” Venaani asked in his letter, dated 20 July 2022. 

Responding on 3 August, Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said Venaani’s assertion is inaccurate. 

According to the PM, only 891 houses remain unoccupied as they are incomplete. They are in Opuwo (24), Swakopmund (505) and 362 in Windhoek. 

“It is these incomplete houses, which are, due to their incomplete status, unallocated. There are no complete houses that are unallocated as you asserted in your open letter,” she said. 

It is not true that government is dragging its feet on the front of housing delivery, the PM said. 

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila blamed legal disputes and underperforming contractors for incomplete houses. 

This is beyond the government’s jurisdiction, she said, noting the courts are handling the matter. 

“The government is, however, making all-round efforts to get these disputes resolved between involved parties in order to clear the way for these houses to be urgently completed and allocated to needy beneficiaries,” she said. 

The government has also initiated action against the main contractor for non-performance, she added. 

Venaani further accused government of having no political will to address the housing crisis, a position he maintained yesterday. 

“The PM’s letter shows no serious commitment to addressing the housing backlog. How can 890 houses remain uncompleted for the last seven years? Why hasn’t the government resolved this matter for this long?” Venaani asked. 

He will “write a reply letter demanding definite deliverable dates”. 

In her letter, however, the PM denied this. She pointed to several housing and land delivery interventions by government to justify that the contrary is indeed true. 

“The government does have the political will and has adopted and is implementing a comprehensive programme to resolve the housing problem, contrary to your assertions,” she told Venaani. 

Chiefly, the former finance minister said government’s continuous funding of local authorities for land servicing and housing development; the Build Together programme; the National Housing Enterprise; funding the Shack Dwellers Federation and housing development by GIPF are among government’s housing interventions. 

Pohamba’s pain

The mass housing programme is the brainchild of former president Hifikepunye Pohamba. 

Back in 2020, he expressed discontent over the project’s abrupt stop in 2015.

“When I was in office, I introduced the mass housing programme and, although there were problems here and there, it was worth continuing. Unfortunately, the administration that followed mine changed it. I think I would have liked to see it go ahead,” he said during an interview.

Namibia’s housing backlog is estimated to be around 300 000, and statistics show that 40% of Namibians live in informal settlements. 

“I did not feel well when I saw those houses being abandoned, especially those which were not completed and those that were completed, [to] be vandalised. If the government had finished those houses which were not yet completed, the people would have occupied them.

“This could have been better rather than what has been the case. Houses were left, some of them with roofs on, meaning they were at a point of completion,” Pohamba said.

The project was stopped in 2015, amid a barrage of irregularities in the tender awarding process, a situation that saw Geingob institute an audit on the mega project.

The findings have not been made public. 

Pohamba, at the time, was quoted as saying, if he were to be given a second chance in office, he would do certain things differently, for he now stands in a position where he can “correct” mistakes.

“You see when you were in a situation [Presidency] and get out from that situation ... you see a lot of mistakes and you feel [that] if I were to go back, I would correct here and there,” he said.

Through the N$45 billion mass housing initiative, government wanted to build 185 000 houses at a rate of over 10 000 a year between 2013 and 2030.

Caption (Houses) Incomplete… Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila says only incomplete mass houses remain empty.

Pictures: Emmency Nuukala 


2022-08-09  Edward Mumbuu

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