Farmers in tug-of-war with housing contractor

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John Muyamba

Rundu-A project intended to reduce the housing backlog in Rundu is well on track despite efforts by some community members to try to stall the project on grounds it has affected their mahangu fields.

Those opposed to the housing project feel it should be stopped as they claim it is adverse to their crops.
New Era has seen a copy of a letter from Sisa Namandje and Co. Incorporated saying Armstrong Properties and Construction invaded his clients’ agricultural land, but the construction company says the project is within the 82-hectare plot given to it through an agreement with the Rundu Town Council.

Despite the letter from the law firm Armstrong Properties and Construction is adamant the project is on track.
“Yes we got the letter too but it has nothing to do with us. The town council must respond to that, the project is going ahead. We started with the construction and we are almost done with installing services,” said Ferdinand Olavi from Armstrong Properties and Construction.

“Our instructions are that a few years ago it was agreed between our clients and the council that any development to be undertaken by any developer, including Armstrong Construction, should be 100 metres away from our clients’ agricultural activities. To the surprise of our clients Armstrong interfered with our clients’ agricultural activities by, inter alia, destroying crops,” the letter states.

The letter further requested the council to take immediate action and stop Armstrong company from going ahead – failing to do that the council will be held responsible or liable for all damages suffered by the law firm’s clients consisting of several community members that reside at Kansukwa, next to the housing project.

Sources informed New Era that certain politicians on the council are using the community to fight the project for personal reasons, but the mayor of Rundu, Verna Sinimbo, refused to comment on these allegations and instead referred this reporter to the acting CEO Mathews Naironga, who ignored the reporter’s calls after getting the query via WhatsApp.

Armstrong company say they are almost done with installing services such as roads, sewer, water and electrification of the site where the 600 houses fitted with modern facilities and aluminium window frames are to be built starting this month (November).

The servicing phase started in May and the actual construction of the houses was supposed to start in June. The construction of the first 100 houses was planned to have been completed by this December, but servicing of the 82-hectare virgin land took longer than expected.

According to the developers the housing units will embrace two-bedroom houses with a garage and some with no
garage, as well as three-bedroom houses with garage and some without.

“Currently we have 106 bank-approved applications of clients that are waiting to be handed their keys as soon as we complete their houses,” Olavi noted.
The company is developing the new suburb on an 82-hectare plot in an area south of the Rundu-Nkurenkuru road in Rundu.

The suburb will also have a fuel station, private doctors’ consulting rooms and a supermarket, to name a few.
This project is a private-public partnership between Armstrong Properties and Construction and Rundu Town Council and will be built in two phases – the council will get their cut from the plots.

This project is the first suburb to be developed by local investors in the town. Rundu has since independence seen developments of suburbs such as Millennium Park, Queens Park and recently Rainbow Village, the old NHE township – also known as Kings Park – and the new NHE mass housing township development next to Unam Rundu Campus, as well as the suburb now under construction.

The town of Rundu has a housing backlog currently at around 30,000 units, a huge demand for houses, but several projects have been introduced but no houses have been seen being built, and thus residents have placed their hopes on this project which has shown some progress.

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