RUNDU– The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) in its current form will not be able to implement the soon-to-be-launched Mass Housing Development Programme, says All People’s Party president Ignatius Shixwameni.
Speaking to New Era recently, Shixwameni said he welcomed the move because it is the only way through which government can eliminate squatter camps, but added that radical surgery is required to boost the NHE’s capacity. “It can be done but I have my doubts when it comes to NHE, they have been receiving money over the years, but yet they failed to deliver, apart from the scandals in which they are involved. They do not have the in-house capacity and spend their money on salaries and subsistence and travel allowances instead of building houses,” Shixwameni said. The
NHE is tipped to administer the mass housing programme. Recently the NHE CEO Vinson Hailulu said the housing parastatal has built about 17 000 houses since its establishment in 1993.
The N$45 billion Mass Housing Development Programme is expected to be launched officially next month. Through the programme the government plans to construct 185 000 houses countywide by 2030, which translates into just over 10 882 houses per year for the next 17 years. Shixwameni urged government to involve other stakeholders if the programme is to be successful. “NHE must just be one of the stakeholders. I believe that if we are to address the housing backlog in this country, we must build at least 20 000 houses per year,” he said.
The housing backlog currently stands at 100 000, and it is predicted to rise to 200 000 by 2030 if no radical measures are taken to address the backlog. “I hope the injection of the billions will not be misused and abused. To make sure this does not happen, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms must be put in place. Government must also ensure that most of the money is not used to pay consultants as usual,” advised the APP president. He also wants to see local housing contractors benefiting from the programme to ensure that money is not taken out of the country. “Let us not give the billions to the Chinese. Hence, we must source local contractors. Each town must do their own thing; we cannot have a situation where people are awarded tenders to construct houses in Katima Mulilo while they are in Windhoek. People from Windhoek must get tenders in Windhoek, this must be the case in every town,” said the APP leader.
By Mathias Haufiku