N$2.7b spent in Mass Housing for 1400 houses

The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) has so far spent N$2,723 918 354 with only 1468 houses completed, says the Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Derek Klazen.
The Deputy Minister said in the National Assembly on Thursday that out of 1468 completed houses, only 221 have been handed over to identified beneficiaries in Walvis Bay, Oshakati and Mariental in 2014.
“The total number of houses planned to be constructed is 9306, with the total houses having been constructed to date being 1468, and a total of 7838 still to be constructed,” the Deputy Minister said.
Out of the 1468 constructed houses, 797 of these are still in the process of being connected to municipal services like water, sewage and electricity.
He said the main challenge which is limiting the finishing of houses with the installation of municipal services is that local authorities lack the financial and technical capacity.
These 797 houses are in the Erongo, //Karas, Kunene, Hardap, Omusati and Zambezi regions.
Out of these houses, 78 houses in the Omusati region are still waiting for NORED to do inspections on the electricity connection.
“I wish to add that some 412 houses of the total completed houses (1,468) are fully-connected to municipal services, and ready to be handed over to beneficiaries,” he stated.
Klazen said a total of 22 companies have been awarded construction tenders by the NHE for Phase One.
He added that since the housing projects were supposed to be implemented in all 14 regions of the country, namely all the regional capitals, the NHE found it impossible to complete yet, mainly due to funding as well as the unavailability of serviced land.
Klazen said the remaining regions of Omaheke, Kavango East, Ohangwena and Oshikoto which have not benefited from the Mass Housing project’s phase 1 will be prioritized in the next phase.
“I wish to point out, however, that the housing construction project at Rundu in the Kavango East region was initiated as a turnkey project, and government appreciates the participation of the private sector,” said the Deputy Minister.
He reiterated that there are criteria to be followed in the selection of beneficiaries and the allocation of houses funded by the government.
Applicants must be Namibian citizens, aged at least 21, and he or she must be a first-time homeowner, and that should be proven through a police declaration indicating that.
Applicants are furthermore expected to provide proof of income (payslip, a sworn statement of income from a Commissioner of Oaths, or a three-month bank statement, including pension grants).  If granted the house, the applicant can only sell it after 10 years of continued occupation, while it should not be rented out and no shacks built on the plot.
“The list of beneficiaries for the social houses (funded by the government) are compiled by local authorities, to whom residents who are in need but are unable to secure such houses through the conventional market system, submit applications,”  Klazen said.
The Ministry has directed local authorities to ensure fairness in the selection and allocation processes, and also urged all key stakeholders in regions (governors, regional councils and local authorities) to work together and be involved in these processes.
On 27 May 2015, the Ministry issued a directive to the NHE to pause any further construction of houses under the Mass Housing programme until further notice.
“The Mass Housing Project shall continue, but there are issues that must be ironed out to make it easier for the end-users of the product we intend to provide”, he stated.