OKAHANDJA – The housing crisis in the country was much worse after independence in comparison to the recent situation and “people tend to forget where we are coming from”, former Deputy Prime Minister Libertina Amathila has said. Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony of the construction of over 1 000 houses outside Okahandja on Wednesday, Amathila said: “We always hear nothing has changed. We found a serious situation of housing in Namibia after independence.”
The ground-breaking ceremony took place at the Osona military base, 10 kilometres south of Okahandja. The place will soon be known as Osona Village where Preferred Investment Property Fund will be constructing the houses and they will be working together with Libertina Amathila as patron of the project. The chairperson of Preferred Investment Management Service, Jacob Nghifindaka, said the PIMS has partnered with the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) in funding the project worth an estimated N$230 million. The first phase begins in the second half of 2015.
Osona Village will provide over 1 000 low- to middle-income families with shelter. “The beneficiaries of the project are government employees and it also doesn’t exclude anyone else who qualifies to purchase a home at Osona Village” said David Nuyoma the CEO of GIPF.
Valerie Aron, Mayor of Okahandja, said the Osona project signifies a relief from the backlog of serviced erven and housing shortage currently experienced in Okahandja.
“The Osona Development Project will provide shelter for many Namibians in need of houses, and that will therefore immensely contribute to economic wellbeing of our people by improving the livelihood of our communities,’’ said Aron.
Amathila, the patron for the Osona Project, narrated how people would sleep in cemeteries and some lived in riverbeds. She also narrated how government made shelter a priority at independence and built houses in partnership with private companies. Houses built since independence include 45 houses in Ondangwa, 450 houses in Ongwediva and more than 50 houses in Oshakati.
Swapo Party secretary-general Nangolo Mbumba said that this point in time serves as a lighthouse moment. Not only does the Osona Village development stand as a beacon that sheds light on an issue that has been reported consistently in our media over the last few months, but it serves to guide us in the direction of doing the right thing – in the right way – when it comes to housing Namibians from all walks of life.
By Regina Simasiku