Windhoek-President Hage Geingob on Friday reaffirmed his commitment to affordable housing in the country, but conceded that the need for housing currently outmatches government’s existing resources.
He nevertheless said he is confident that if “we all rededicate and commit ourselves to helping our fellow Namibians, and look beyond our own self-interests by considering the needs of others, then we will be able to meet the demand for housing.”
Geingob made the remarks on Friday when he handed over the re-usable polycare modular assembly brick house in Otjomuise to an impoverished family.
The recipients are Abele Phillip, his wife and their five children who lived in a shack in Otjomuise’s 7de Laan.
Phillip, who is wheelchair-bound, reportedly became paralysed after he was tortured by agents of apartheid South Africa in 1982.
The two-bedroom house was a demo house that was brought into Namibia by the polycare team from Germany for display at Safari Hotel during the Invest in Namibia international conference, which took place in November last year under the President’s stewardship.
The show house served as an alternative building technology model that can be used to address the housing backlog in Namibia.
“Next month we will be celebrating 27 years of peace, stability and democratic rule in Namibia. We have achieved much as a nation during the past two and a half decades – however a lack of adequate land and housing remain contentious issues,” Geingob said.
He noted the Harambee Prosperity Plan identifies residential land delivery, housing and sanitation as a ‘sine qua non’ for social progression.
In the interest of ensuring a dignified life for all Namibians, he said the government has undertaken several initiatives to tackle the issue of lack of decent housing in the country, adding that the government understands that housing plays a significant role in bettering people’s lives.
“Housing provides access to basic services, like water and sanitation. It also offers shelter, which is a prerequisite for a dignified life. In a house, families are able to stay together, thrive and pursue their aspirations. The provision of adequate and affordable housing is therefore one of our primary weapons in the war against poverty and concomitant inequality.”
He thus praised the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, as well as the contractor Kavango Building Bricks, for having completed the project of transforming what was formerly a shack dwelling into a “Harambee Prosperity House”.
The achievement is a result of several stakeholders working together, pulling in one direction, under the spirit of Harambee, to deliver a more dignified life to a needy Namibian family.
Geingob encouraged all Namibians and friends of Namibia, the private sector, development partners and non-governmental organisations, to come forward to support the programme of housing delivery.
Meanwhile, Phillip thanked the Namibian government for the house.
“I don’t have much to say. I thank you my President. I also thank Honourable Sophia Shaningwa (Minster of Urban and Rural Development) and the German government for the house given to me,” he acknowledged.
Shaningwa called on local authorities across the country to avail land for the purposes of housing provision at affordable rates to ensure that houses constructed are affordable to people, mostly in the low and middle-income brackets.
She said if land prices remain high, then houses will never be affordable to the target groups.