By Mathias Haufiku
WINDHOEK – The Ministry of Defence is in talks with the regional and local government ministry about ensuring that soldiers also acquire houses through government’s mass housing scheme.
Defence minister Nahas Angula is concerned that most soldiers in the country do not own houses, and according to him the only way to remedy the situation is through the mass housing scheme.
It is believed that close to half of military personnel do not own a house – mainly due to the fact that their meagre salaries do not allow them to receive bank financing.
In responding to questions from New Era last Thursday at an NDF function in Windhoek,
Angula said his ministry is busy communicating with Major General (Rtd) Charles Namoloh’s ministry to incorporate soldiers in the N$45 billion mass housing programme.
“Accommodation is a problem to many, especially young NDF members. Most of them are accommodated in barracks and other military infrastructure, but these people have families and they cannot live with their families in the barracks, therefore their housing needs should be taken care of, “ said Angula.
Angula said the housing situation within the NDF is worrying, hence the ministry took the initiative to approach Namoloh to see how soldiers can be accommodated in the programme.
“We are really concerned by the situation, our soldiers need to own houses as well,” he said.
Soldiers, teachers, police officers and nurses currently linger at the very bottom of the country’s income pyramid, despite these services being declared essential.
Just recently, Chief of Defence Lieutenant General John Mutwa dished out orders to all service commanders, chiefs of staff, directors, commanders of formations and units under his authority to identify and list the accommodation problems affecting NDF members.
In the letter dated December 17 2014 and bearing the signature of Mutwa, he said: “Suggest the possible solutions to the problem. List the number of personnel per rank parameter who are in need of private accommodation. Take note that only members who do not own a house and are willing to acquire one through government subsidy must be considered.”
Mutwa also wants to know the local authority areas where members would prefer to own houses and the number of houses required from each area. Mutwa conceded that the lack of accommodation facilities in the force has prompted members to rent accommodation in their areas of deployment while some are accommodated in shacks.
“This problem is not expected to be solved soon if further avenues are not explored,” warned Mutwa.
“The NDF has grown in size and its deployment within the country increased. That growth has adversely affected the existing structures on the one hand, while ongoing infrastructure development projects are very slow and therefore not helping at all,” he said.