RUNDU - Minister of urban and rural development Erastus Uutoni says he wants street vendors and those selling at open markets who can’t access bank housing finances to be able to build houses through the government’s Build Together and shack dwellers programmes.
He said government is, in its mission of housing delivery, providing money in the form of a loan between N$40 000 and N$80 000 to low-income earners, such as street vendors.
“I want individual people who cannot access financing to come on board. We are embarking on a system that we want everyone to participate in, and that is through Build Together and the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia (SDFN),” Uutoni said recently during the hand over of the first batch of 32 houses out of 307 houses being built for middle-income households at Kaisosi, portion 116 of Extension 9 in Rundu.
“I want to intensify the programme of Build Together, where every citizen can build houses, so what needs to be done is for the mayor and leadership to ensure that we have serviced land, and allocate it to our low-income members of society. Build Together is the way to go”, he noted.
According to Uutoni, his ministry has also undertaken policy and legal reforms to accelerate the delivery of land and housing.
“One of these is the enactment of the Urban and Regional Planning Act of 2018, which resulted in the repeal of the outdated Town Planning Ordinance of 1954 and Townships and Division of Land Ordinance of 1963. This Act replaced the Townships Board and the Namibia Planning Advisory Board with one single board, the Namibia Urban and Regional Planning Board,” he added.
The Act provides for the decentralisation of certain functions to regional councils and local authorities, thereby fast-tracking the approval and delivery of land.
“We are also reviewing our housing policy and legislation,” he said.
Uutoni then applauded the private sector, through Fulbright Investments and partners who are constructing houses in Rundu, for doing their part in contributing towards housing delivery in the country. Uutoni said government is open to development partnerships.
“We have created an environment for private developers to partner with the government to deliver on our promise of affordable housing for all Namibian people,” he observed.
“I implore on developers M Peace and Fulbright Investments’ joint venture to maintain the government’s call for good quality houses at affordable prices, Uutoni continued.”
A Fulbright Investments’ representative said during the handover that their aim is to provide solutions that elevate human dignity, as it’s not a matter of just providing homes, but homes that are decent and allow families to live in a dignified way.
“We all know that when you own a home, it brings other benefits to you and your family. You add value to the economy in many ways as well. This project employs 200 workers, of whom 30 are women,” said Reagan Graig from Fulbright Investments. “These are 32 houses that we have completed, and we are now building 60 more. At the end, we will have built over 300 houses at this project,” he added. Meanwhile, one of the recipients was over the moon. “I would like to thank the company for remembering our town, and for coming to build houses for us. I am happy that I now have a house to live in with my family, and on behalf of my fellow beneficiary home owners, we are really thankful,” said Elizabeth Likoro. The houses built range from two-bedroom houses that each comprise of a lounge, kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms, with an average erf size of 450 square metres.
As per the last census, the region has an average of 5.6 people per household in urban areas such as Rundu. This project will potentially house 1 535 residents of Rundu and surrounding areas.