Omaheke Home Scheme Comes to Standstill
By Kuvee Kangueehi
The Build Together Housing Project in the Omaheke Region has come to a standstill after the contractor who was granted the tender ran out of funds.
The contractor Izak De Beer informed the council that he had run out of money even though he had received almost all the funds for the project, cash to the tune of N$2,9 million. De Beer told the council that even if he were given the outstanding N$500,000, he would still not be able to complete the job.
De Beer who was granted a tender of N$3,4 million in 2006 was expected to complete the construction work two months ago.
In terms of the contract agreement which was signed by Balbina Pienaar on behalf of the Omaheke Regional Council and De Beer, the latter was expected to construct 172 houses at Aminuis, Corridor 13, Tallismanus, Epukiro Post 3 and Otjinene.
A councillor in Omaheke, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the council is now worried that De Beer might leave the country without completing the houses.
The councillor strongly believes that De Beer wasted the money and said inflation in the last six months could not have contributed to the lack of funds.
The councillor also questioned why the council had paid over the N$2,9 million before the attainment of the second phase of the project. According to the contract, De Beer was to receive N$1,3 million at the commencement of the project as starting capital to enable him to construct 172 houses up to window level.
The councillor said at some settlements De Beer had not even started constructing the houses while at other settlements, only the foundation had been laid. The councillor questioned on what basis the Omaheke Regional Council paid De Beer the money for the second phase before the first phase was complete.
The councillor reiterated that there was a possibility of De Beer leaving the country as he was in the process of selling his business.
Contacted for comment, De Beer confirmed that he was planning to sell his business but refuted allegations that he was planning to relocate to South Africa.
De Beer said he was a Namibian and was not leaving the country. But he has lately been in South Africa because his wife needed medical attention.
Despite confirming that the project had come to a halt because of financial problems, De Beer declined to comment further on the issue and referred all questions to the council.
Governor of the Omaheke Region Laura McLeod said council had requested a full report from the Director of Planning in the Omaheke Regional Council Pederius Tjihoreko concerning the project, and on how the finances were advanced to De Beer.
McLeod refused to comment further on the issue and said she would only comment once the entire report was out.
The Build Together Project came into being in the financial year 1992/1993.
The ministry allocated maximum loans of N$40 000 at an interest rate of 4% to 7% over twenty years but the project was decentralized to the regional councils during the 1998/99 financial year.