Much-needed infrastructure development at Aussenkehr will soon become a reality after three companies were selected to start with construction work in the grape farming area.
The grape farms produce export-grade seedless grapes for Europe, America and for other lucrative markets.
With many grape workers still living in ramshackle reed houses without toilets or running water, housing will be the main focus of the planned development project.
The project will also include a new school, clinic, shopping mall, roads and other social infrastructure.
Karasburg East constituency councillor Paulus Efraim confirmed the development plans.
He said they had made good progress, and hopefully the companies would soon be on site to start with the planned construction that would also create much-needed jobs.
Cong Investment cc & Sun Namibia Group JV, Namibia Professional Service Solutions and Jacobs Engineering Company are the three companies selected by the //Kharas Regional Council for the planned infrastructure projects.
Efraim said the development of infrastructure was essential as the grape industry expanded, which made it necessary to make use of the services of private investors.
Private investors could assist in bringing about infrastructure development, because relying on government alone could take years.
“We can no longer wait, the grape industry is expanding and we also need to develop, but waiting on government alone will take forever,” an upbeat Efraim added.
He said the three companies would pump their own funds into the project, which they could recoup once companies and workers started buying the houses.
The councillor could not give exact details about to the cost of the project, but New Era understands it will cost over N$2.5 billion.
During their presentations, the companies were required to show their financial muscle and capability by providing their financial statements to show they had the necessary cash reserves before they could be considered.
Efraim further stated that the response from the grape companies was positive, and many were willing to buy houses for their employees, especially those employed permanently.
The focus would be on low cost housing, but they would also construct mid and higher-cost houses depending on the demand.
He stressed that provision of decent housing remained a thorn in the flesh despite this positive development for an area that has long been known for poor living conditions.
However, he cautioned that it would be impossible to provide all residents with proper shelter, and that not everyone would acquire a house through the project.
“We want to build a town; we have demarcated 7,000 plots and it will be good if we can start with 3,000, but of course we cannot build houses for everyone here,” he said.
Efraim further said that he hoped the construction would commence as soon as possible, but council first had to endorse the project at one of its meetings after which they could give the contractors their appointment letters.