Some individuals waiting to benefit from the Mass Housing Project (MHP) will have to live with the fact their new homes were once used as toilets by passersby and nearby residents.
Several houses built at Keetmanshoop through the multi-billion mass housing project – initiated by government to address the shortage of houses across the country – are soiled with human excrement.
The houses have also been vandalised, with windows shattered and pipes broken. Geysers along with their solar panels have also been plundered.
The mass houses are also defaced with graffiti. Derogatory and vulgar-worded graffiti is now inscribed on the walls of several houses, while human waste can be seen inside the houses, and outside.
The houses built near Ileni informal settlement seem to be a good option for people to relieve themselves when nature calls.
Local residents remarked that some people see the houses as an easy avenue to relieve themselves; the excuse being that the public toilets are dirty and unusable at most times.
“It’s a big problem because our public toilets are not used by people due to their condition, so people go to the houses, especially during the night, as the bushes are far,” one resident explained.
//Karas Governor Lucia Basson confirmed she is aware of the matter and is highly concerned about the damage being caused by vandals.
“My other concern is that government will have to fork out extra cash to repair these houses before they are given to their owners,” said the governor.
She, however, told New Era she is unaware of what is happening with the MHP and when it will resume, saying she has no details regarding that, as central government has not given her any information on the matter.
Keetmanshoop Municipality, which is the custodian of the MHP in the region, also expressed concern over the vandalism, saying they have on several occasions tried to repair broken windows, but these are usually broken again.
Municipal public relations officer Dawn Kruger told New Era via telephone that Keetmanshoop municipality is acutely aware of the problem and it is worrisome as hinders the process.
She said the municipality had at some point halted the installation of electrical cables, because people were digging them up as soon as they were put in.
“They even dig up the electrical cables so we had to stop putting them in,” she said.
Kruger went on to explain that the municipality is in the dark as to when the houses will be handed over, saying the initial list for the 65 completed houses sent to the ministry for approval is currently not valid, because the government revoked the 50 percent subsidy initially agreed on.
This has left many on the list not able to afford the houses anymore.
“The list is not valid, because government revoked the subsidy and that means the prices of the houses have doubled,” she said, adding that the municipality is just waiting on government to clarify the way forward.
“We are waiting on the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development to let us know who to sell the houses to and at what price. Until they get back to us our hands are tied,” Kruger said.