The main contractor of the Mass Housing Project here, Rundu Green Cycle Investment, has delivered 64 completed houses in Rundu, but the contractor has advised government to look into the aspect of project management to ensure the project continues without major hiccups.
Henny Seibeb, manager of Green Cycle Investment, spoke to New Era after the handover of 64 houses last week. He said working on the project was not much of a challenge, but the difficulty however consists in that the project lacked proper project management, which according to him is crucial.
He said when the project was set up, government seemingly forgot about the aspect of project management.
“Government needs to see the need to have project managers on this project. You see, the government is busy with public-private partnership deals, so it’s good if government could establish, or have a specialised project division, where they only deal with the implementation of big government projects, especially in terms of project management,” Seibeb stated.
“I have a feeling that one way that we are losing track is that government doesn’t have a proper management unit to coordinate these big government infrastructural projects,” he added.
Seibeb further speculated that perhaps the University of Namibia (Unam), or the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), can introduce specialised programmes, diplomas or degree courses on project management, because project management is very important when building big dams, or any other big infrastructure projects, like major roads and large-scale housing projects.
“You know, currently government is expanding the infrastructure. Government has big plans that are going over several billions of Namibia dollars. For example, if you look at the Mass Housing [Project], I don’t know the specific figures that have been planned for the next four years. The projects that have been announced under the Harambee Prosperity Plan… all these are big plans with huge amounts of money. Therefore, you need a certain unit or a coordinating unit to oversee those projects,” Seibeb opined.
Initially 308 houses were supposed to be built under the Mass Housing Project in Rundu, where the housing backlog is estimated to be around 30 000, but the plans have changed and only 188 houses will be built for now. Some of the remaining houses that Green Cycle is working on are already at roof level. According to the contractor it normally takes them four weeks to build a whole house, so they aim to complete the current assignment by the end of August.
“We were initially given 308 houses, but things have changed so we are only building 188… [The first] 64 we handed over and now we remain with 124 that need to be delivered and will be finalised in the next two months. Then the government will decide whether they will continue to build the remainder of the houses, or what will happen,” explained Seibeb.
“Working on the project in Rundu was good. The only problems we had were the ones cited by government and the media, that were mentioned in the newspapers and that government could not pay the contractors on time. Thus there were some little problems, as the workers did not know what was happening,” Seibeb told New Era.