WINDOEK– Regional governors are in full support of government’s N$45 billion mass housing programme that aims to address the prevailing housing backlog in Namibia, which has already reached crisis proportions They stressed the bold initiative is long overdue.
Through the programme, government plans to build 185 000 houses by 2030 to mitigate the current 100 000 housing unit deficit which is said to be increasing by 3 700 annually. Kavango Regional Governor, Ambassador Samuel Mbambo, described the project as a “good move”, adding that housing delivery has been a long-standing priority of the government.
“Although there was very little financial support in the past, the time has now come to pay attention to the housing crisis. Many of us may think this is a problem that we cannot overcome, but we have to put things into the context of Vision 2030. It is not just health, education or even agriculture that only needs attention … housing must be looked at as well,” said Mbambo. He called on government to come up with innovative ways to control house prices, which he says are in most cases artificial. “In most cases, the price of the house does not really reflect the material or even building costs, the prices are merely artificial,” said Mbambo.
The Governor of Oshana Region, Clemens Kashuupulwa, said the programme can solve the national housing and unemployment problems in one go. “Local contractors must be in the system because they are doing very well at the moment. This will boost the construction industry, which absorbs many unemployed Namibians,” said Kashuupulwa. He said many employed people also have nowhere to stay.
“At regional level many people are employed but finding a place to stay is hard. The private sector cannot solve this alone, hence this programme is long overdue,” said Kashuupulwa.
The Governor of the Oshikoto Region Penda Ya Ndakolo also lauded government for the initiative, adding that the housing plight of the people at grassroots level can now be addressed. “Wherever you go, housing is important. I am happy that the houses will be affordable. People should however be categorized in terms of income if this programme is to be successful,” said Ya Ndakolo.
“I can proudly say that the town of Omuthiya is ready, they have available serviced land that is not only available for this programme, but also for other investors who are willing to provide affordable housing to our people,” he said.
Sophia Shaningwa, the Governor of the Oshikoto Region, told this reporter that if government can register all graduates of the vocational training centres in the country, who specialized in one or another aspect of home construction, the government will be able to contain the costs of the massive project. “We need to create a body that can keep record of the graduates, this means that if we have programmes like the housing one, we can make use of the graduates. The good thing is that we can negotiate the price with them, instead of using the tycoons who determine the price,” she said.
“All of us should carry the same mission, instead of just thinking of driving BMW’s – let us make job creation and housing for our people a priority,” urged Shaningwa.
“We must start getting our people out of ‘kambashus’ because they are not investments,” stressed Shaningwa.
The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) will implement the bold multi-billion dollar programme. The average price of the housing units to be built will be N$280 000. During the unveiling of the programme on Monday, the Minister of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development, Rtd Major-General Charles Namholoh called for a shack-free Namibia. “We do not want shacks anymore because they hamper the integration of our people. Our people need proper accommodation and they must be confident to say where they live without shame. We cannot have luxury houses in one part of town, while the other parts are shacks,” said Namholoh.