Malakia A.L Nashongo
Opuwo-Urban and Rural Development Minister Sophia Shaningwa on Friday handed over 29 houses to new homeowners in Opuwo.
The 29 complete houses handed over are among the 53 houses to be built under the mass housing development programme in Opuwo.
The government took a decision to provide affordable houses to the low and medium-income groups, thus reducing the price for the houses for ultra-low and low-income groups to as little as N$70,000 per house, which is lower than the actual construction cost of N$199,561, and with a monthly installment of N$550 per month.
Shaningwa said the houses are made for first-time buyers and she urged those who already have houses to give a chance to those who do not have.
She also urged those responsible for the construction of houses and people responsible for the allocation of houses to the beneficiaries or screening the beneficiaries to redouble their efforts to avoid situations of houses standing unoccupied and being at the risk of being vandalized.
The minister urged the beneficiaries to honour their home loan payment obligations to the government and banks so that the money they are paying can be used to build more houses for other needy Namibians.
Shaningwa also stressed that the government will continue its efforts towards scaling up the delivery of affordable houses in the country with a special focus on the housing needs of first-time homeowners, especially in the low and medium-income groups and those living in informal settlements.
She urged the local authorities to avail land and service the land for residents to have decent shelter.
She expressed dissatisfaction with some local authorities that are delaying the provision of both land and houses to people, saying this attitude holds back national developmental aspirations.
Shaningwa urged beneficiaries to take care of the houses and not change ownership of the property for the next ten years, as is policy. She also told them not to put up corrugated-iron shacks around the new houses.
Despite the 29 out of 53 houses being completed in Opuwo, Shaningwa expressed her disappointment with the contractor for the delayed delivery of the houses due to the poor relationship between the main contractor and the sub-contractors.
She urged this poor relationship to come to an end to speed up the provision of houses to people who need decent shelter.
One of the beneficiaries expressed her gratitude towards the government for ensuring that they got decent shelter at an affordable price.
The mass housing development programme was launched in November 2013 by former president Hifikepunye Pohamba as an intervention aimed at reducing the backlog in housing in the country especially for the ultra-low, low and middle-income groups.
As stipulated in the Harambee Prosperity Plan and Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5), the provision of affordable houses in Namibia should ensure that no one in the Namibian House is left out.
Opuwo is one of the local authorities in Kunene Region that benefitted from this programme among Khorixas and Outjo, which will see a total of 106 houses being built in Kunene, of which 20 houses have been already handed over to beneficiaries in Outjo.
• Malakia A.L Nashongo works for the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Opuwo, Kunene Region.