KEETMANSHOOP - The Keetmanshoop municipality has rejected claims in a recent news article that accused its officials of having tampered with the mass housing beneficiary list in which some residents were apparently accidentally declared as ‘dead’ while they are still alive.
An article by The Namibian newspaper this Wednesday headlined ‘Keetmans housing list tampered with’ indicates that the municipality admitted to having mistakenly declared some of the beneficiaries as dead.
In the article one such beneficiary, one Anton Isak Hanse, said he was shocked to learn that he was declared dead, and that he thus suspected the list was tampered with to deny him the opportunity to legally own a home.
The article further indicates the municipality’s local economic development department (LED) manager, Jegg Christiaan, had asked Hanse to provide a declaration stating that he is still alive, and that Christiaan had confirmed that Hanse was mistakenly listed as deceased.
But the municipality’s public relations officer, Dawn Kruger, in a press statement rejected such claims, saying the municipality is in no position to tamper with the beneficiary list because the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development (MURD) has a master list, for the same purpose of guarding against any manipulation.
“The Keetmanshoop municipality thus denies any tampering with the Mass Housing Development Programme beneficiary list and therefore express our dismay and rejection of the sensationalist article published by The Namibian,” she said in the media statement.
Kruger explained the list was jointly compiled by the municipality and the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development and that it consists of beneficiaries that applied to the decentralised Build Together Programme between 1994 and 2012 and that the master list is kept with the ministry to ensure that no tampering takes place. She further said the list is divided into three segments, which is the updated beneficiary list, beneficiaries with houses and some deceased, and beneficiaries on the list without application forms, noting that Hanse was listed under the section of people with houses or deceased, and that it was explained to him that he was listed so because officials thought he had a house already and not because he was dead, adding that he was requested to declare that he does not own a house and not to declare that he was alive.
“Hanse was never requested to provide a declaration that he was still alive, but was in fact requested to provide a declaration that he does not own a house already. He has been in line to obtain a house for the last two years but has so far failed to provide the necessary documents,” she said.
She further stated it is impossible for the municipality to tamper with the list as it is a public document that is displayed on notice boards for all beneficiaries to see and create awareness, adding those who suspect any foul play are welcome to report such cases to the relevant authorities.
“We would actually encourage and advise any affected person or any person who suspects ‘favouritism’ in the allocation of the mass houses to report such suspicions to the relevant authorities, including the Keetmanshoop Municipality, Ministry of Urban and Rural Development or even the Anti-Corruption Commission,” she stated.