Namibia Building Workers Union (NABWU) secretary general Victor Hamunyela has predicted massive job losses and resultant suffering due to the recent suspension of the mass-housing scheme because funds to implement the ambitious project have dried up.
The government has instructed the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) to suspend the construction of some houses under the mass-housing scheme because of lack of money and fear of lawsuits from contracted companies that could sue for breach of contract.
In reaction to this, Hamunyela said the Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa did not apply herself when she decided to suspend construction, as she did not think of the implications her decision has on the workers employed under the mass-housing scheme.
Speaking yesterday at a press conference, Hamunyela added that the suspension of the scheme was inappropriate, as this would affect a lot of workers whose expectations of a better life and dreams would no longer be realised.
“Her decision has left us with more questions than answers why she decided to suspend the programme. Why would a huge project like this one kick off the ground if the funds budgeted for such a programme were not enough? We demand answers to this,” objected Hamunyela.
He further called on Shaningwa to deal with the issue, as people cannot fold hands because of the problem brought about by someone (Vincent Hailulu), who could not steer the ship to the shore.
“It is our concern that our members, who were recruited to build these houses, are losing their jobs at the hands of others, and their job losses are defeating what President Hage Geingob had declared that no one should be left out. Now, the [aborted] mass-housing scheme will leave some people swimming in poverty,” stated Hamunyela.
Furthermore, he called on Shaningwa to apply powers invested in her to extinguish the fire before causing mass destruction.
Many contractors are owed hundreds of millions of dollars after they completed houses under the mass-housing scheme that has now been suspended, as the NHE has been unable to source at least N$3 billion for the troubled project to build cheaper houses.