Only a paltry three out of 62 houses – constructed under government’s mass housing scheme – were handed to new owners at Rehoboth last week after Minister of Urban and Rural Development Sophia Shaningwa found loopholes in the manner the rest of the houses were allocated to supposed recipients.
After a marathon meeting prior to the handover ceremony, Shaningwa said she was not in favour of the manner the allocation lists were drawn up.
“Due to the predicament we found with the lists presented to me today for the allocation of the social houses, I have directed the (Rehoboth) town council and my officials to rectify the lists before the houses can be allocated to the beneficiaries,” the no-nonsense housing minister said.
“I therefore wish to assure you that all the houses will be allocated in a fair and transparent manner as stipulated in the documents of the government. I don’t like it when there is no fairness.”
She gave the town council an ultimatum of one week to come up with a list that is fair to the applicants.
“I already directed the Rehoboth Town Council that I need the people of Rehoboth to be listed on what I call a ‘master list’.”
Shaningwa called upon all local authorities to work from a master waiting list.
“The master list should always have the applicants listed as they apply for houses and it should apply to all municipalities and town councils.”
She said if there are houses available, people listed as number one should not think they qualify automatically. “We still have to look at what you qualify for – a big house, small house, Build Together or a house with the Shackdwellers’ Federation.”
“When we allocate either erven or houses we must go according to the master lists. We cannot proceed to work with institutions that do not have systems in place.”
“We have been educated enough. Tampering with information must come to an end. If tampering happened and there is evidence then report it to the police. There must be a case,” she warned.
Shaningwa said government is committed to provide shelter that is not only decent but affordable to the people.
According to her the town council could not get credit-worthy customers from the NHE or banking institutions for the 30 credit-linked houses, while 29 social houses were put on hold until the council came up with a fair allocation process.
A ‘Core 5 house’ (social house) is said to be offered at a reduced price of N$90 000, thus enabling a person who earns up to 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.
Shaningwa said government would build more houses but the price must be reasonable and affordable to the people and cautioned those in the construction industry that they should not ignore her warnings.
“Contractors can make profit but they must be reasonable. I’m not saying that contractors cannot make a profit but not exorbitant profits and become millionaires within a day.”