Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa this week handed over 337 houses constructed under the Mass Housing Development Programme.
The houses – 209 in Oshakati, 50 in Okahao and 78 in Oshikuku – were handed over between Sunday and Monday. The remaining houses countrywide are expected to be handed to recipients by June 25.
Shaningwa said the houses would be sold at a lower price than the actual construction cost to ensure that the houses are affordable to the target groups, because currently houses prices are beyond the affordability level of many Namibians.
A ‘Core 5 house’ is said to be offered at a reduced price of N$90 000, thus enabling a person who earns N$2 700 to afford it. “Cabinet… has taken a decision that the categories of houses that are earmarked for the ultra-low and low income groups must be sold at prices that are lower than the actual cost of construction,” she said.
Some of the recipients of the 209 houses at Oshakati wanted to have the contents of the Deed of Sale disclosed to them before accepting the houses. At the time of the handover, the recipients alleged that they had not signed any agreement concerning the houses and argued that the contents of the Deed had not been disclosed to them.
“We don’t know whether we can afford the houses now because we were not informed of the price,” one of the recipients said. The intended recipients also charged that while they are prohibited from erecting zinc structures around the house or from selling the house within the first 10 years of occupancy, to date no contract has been signed to this effect.
Some of the recipients New Era spoke to included teachers, women and men from State security apparatuses and other civil servants, amongst others.
While handing over the houses Shaningwa appealed to the local authorities to develop one master list in order to only cater for registered people on the list. The minister said the selection of beneficiaries would be done on a first-come-first-served basis.
Aina Shipingana, an employee at a local bookshop, said acquiring a house is a big relief. Shipingana said she used to reside at Eemwandi informal settlement where she has endured flooding for four consecutive years. “I’m really happy, because during my stay at Eemwandi I lost a lot of furniture in the flood and also travelled a distance to get water,” Shipingana said.
Another recipient, Rauna Mwatila, was excited that she would eventually be able to pay for her own property, saying she has been renting for the past nine years. Both recipients applied for homes between 2010 and 2014.