The Executive Director in the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Ester Lusepani, clarified at the weekend that government has no intention to continue building homes for the less fortunate using corrugated iron material.
She further said the construction of shacks for vulnerable residents of Nkurenkuru in Kavango West was an emergency measure implemented in response to curbing the spread of Covid-19.
She explained that on 27 April this year when the NBC broke a story of the San people residing in Nkurenkuru, the insert “came as a shock to many as it showed people in a destitute state and deplorable living conditions”.
Therefore, Lusepani said, the ministry immediately reached out to remedy the situation. “Because this was not a planned activity, and therefore no budget available. The Office of the Prime Minister availed N$500 000, which was for material cost of the corrugated iron houses, while our ministry availed N$454 000 that paid for water brought to the site and the volunteers and staff members of the ministry that constructed the corrugated iron houses, that totalled N$954 000,” she explained.
Lusepani added the ministry does not intend on replicating such an initiative in other regions, as it only came into being as a quick response to a call for help from the community. She also denied reports that the 33 shacks were constructed at the cost of N$1.4 million.
“The cost of each structure was N$15 000. You arrive at this amount by dividing N$500 000 by 33 corrugated iron structures,” she said, adding that her ministry remains bound by its vision to have a caring and inclusive society where all Namibians enjoy a dignified life.
“Concerning marginalised communities, the ministry stands to advocate and promote the rights of marginalised communities with a focus on integrating and socio-economic mainstreaming in the society in line with national, regional and international instruments that relate to the rights of indigenous peoples/marginalised communities.”
The shacks were built at Nkurenkuru Extension 5, Siurungu and Mayara villages to benefit about 100 people. News of the shacks, which were handed over by minister Doreen Sioka, received condemnation from opposition parties, with many questioning government’s logic in the construction of the structures.