OMUTHIYA - Some war veterans that were to benefit from the veterans affairs housing scheme have been reportedly refusing to move into the houses upon completion, an issue that has irked the ministry which says the houses could have been diverted to more deserving individuals.
A total of 48 housing units have been constructed in Oshikoto Region for registered or recognised war veterans of the national liberation struggle since 2011, revealed the veterans affairs ministry. While 26 of those were built between the financial years 2015/16 to 2018/19, around 200 applicants are still on the waiting list.
These details were provided by the ministry’s senior community liaison officer, Asser Nampala, during a meeting with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security led by Leevi Katoma, to inspect capital projects in the regions.
“They act good and wanting in the beginning only for them to turn around in the end when the house is complete, that’s when they are telling you they do not want to move into the house. Other scenarios include beneficiaries refusing the houses to be built in the area for which their application was approved or some end up losing out on the opportunity because they can find alternative land,” said Nampala, highlighting some of the issues they encounter.
Further briefing the committee, he said 137 tombstones were erected at various graves during the same period, while 77 gravesites of burials of freedom fighters were identified and geo-referenced.
Nampala informed the committee the ministry is hampered by financial constraints to implement some of its programmes, such as the development of a poultry farm at Okatope, which is still in its infancy stage due to a lack of funds.
“The poultry farm will be one of the veterans’ income-generating projects, with an aim to boost our revenues and it will be run by the veterans association. We have demined the area and fenced it off, thus once funds are available we will start revamping the old buildings which are on the premises. The place used to be an army camp during the colonial times,” said Nampala.
Furthermore, the committee was informed the ministry was unable to provide universal standard services for all beneficiaries due to lack of water and electricity in some areas, hence the features of some houses vary.
There are 2 400 registered war veterans in Oshikoto.