Vandalised houses to be renovated at Keetmans

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Matheus Hamutenya

Keetmanshoop

Seventy-five houses built under government’s Mass Housing Project (MHP) at Keetmanshoop will receive a much-needed facelift before being handed over to their new owners. The renovations bring an extra cost of N$1.4 million to taxpayers.

Keetmanshoop municipal spokesman Dawn Kruger informed New Era that the houses have been severely vandalised after their completion and will need extensive repairs and electrical re-wiring before they can safely be handed over to residents.

She said the exercise will come at extra cost, given that about N$ 1.4 million will be needed to pay for the renovations, adding that to ensure the houses are not vandalised in future a security company has been contracted to keep an eye over the houses until their expected handover time in June.

“The work is expected to be finalised by end of June 2017 and a security company has been contracted to safeguard the houses until they can be handed over to the new owners at an additional cost of approximately N$100,000 per month,” she said.

Asked why the houses were not handed over to their owners when they were completed, Dawn said this was due to the fact that the programme was put on hold, which meant all progress on the project had to be stopped.

Some of the houses are now without doors, geysers, toilet pots or kitchen sinks, while the windows have been shattered on every second house. And with many of the houses left open, some residents – likely from the informal settlement nearby – saw it as an opportunity to use the houses as toilets, as some houses are full of human excrement.

As New Era went on site to see the progress of the renovations, some of the cleaners tasked to get rid of the human waste could not believe that they have found so many heaps of human waste in one of the houses, saying they didn’t know where to start.

They described the condition as a public health hazard, but said they would do their job despite the state of the houses, which were an eye-sore. Others had pity for the residents who would later occupy the houses, saying it might take a while before the stench of human waste disappears.

About 320 houses were set to be constructed at Keetmanshoop through the MHP, but by the time the project came to an abrupt standstill in 2015 after government decided to put the programme on hold, only about 65 houses had been completed.

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