MARIENTAL – National Housing Enterprise (NHE) executives are expected to meet with contractors in Mariental who are very upset that all recent NHE construction tenders, including those for the Mass Housing Programme in Hardap Region, went to firms that are not local while the region has competent builders.
The meeting stems from a petition by contractors to the regional governor, Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, who last week told New Era that she shared the disappointment of the contractors. She therefore requested the NHE to come and explain what transpired during the tendering process. “[NHE] promised to come before the end of March to talk to the local contractors,” she said. NHE did not comment when approached for comment yesterday.
According to Hanse-Himarwa, the petition from the angry building contractors asked the regional governor to arrange a meeting with NHE chief executive officer Vincent Hailulu to discuss the implementation of government’s mass housing scheme at the town. In the petition, seen by New Era, concerned contractors hint at the possibility of staging a protest to register their dissatisfaction about the way the tendering process was handled by the NHE in Mariental.
The petition states that the Mariental Municipality suddenly allocated plots for the mass housing project, while inhabitants were last year forced to grab land due to the alleged unavailability of erven at the town.
“Our discontent is that as medium term companies we travelled to Windhoek to attend a media briefing of the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development where the objectives of the mass housing programme were outlined. The main objective was to provide housing to the masses, but to at the same time empower small and medium contractors. That is not happening now,” reads the petition.
According to the contractors, presently only Chinese companies were contracted to deal with the mass housing project. “Other multi-million construction tenders at the town have also been allocated to Chinese companies with no local contractors to be seen anywhere,” the petition reads.
Hanse-Himarwa said she was aware of some tried and tested contractors in the area who were left out but she was satisfied with the situation in Rehoboth where the contract was allocated to a local contractor. “Although some local contractors may stand a chance to successfully tender during the second phase, the waiting period between now and the next phase seems to be a bone of contention,” the governor said.
Contractors point to all major construction work currently taking place in Mariental by both private and public institutions such as the police barracks, the Woermann Brock complex, National Development Corporation stalls, and accommodation for government employees which are all presently being constructed by Chinese companies leaving local contractors out in the cold.
By Hoandi !Gaeb