Eveline de Klerk
SWAKOPMUND – The absence of a coordination framework between local authorities and the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) continues to delay the allocation of mass housing units across the country.
The Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development Derek Klazen at a meeting yesterday made this revelation and berated local authorities and the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) for failing to synchronise their functions in dealing with mass housing.
He was adamant that the central government long ago issued clear guidelines to local authorities on how to deal with the transfer of land on which the mass housing units are built. The houses were built through the NHE, which was allocated land for that specific purpose, and when the house goes to the owner, that land must be transferred to the local authority. Local authorities are responsible for allocating the mass housing units, according to the list of people who need houses in each local authority.
“I am very disappointed to learn that the Deeds of Donation is still cited as one of the reasons why the potential beneficiaries cannot occupy the houses,” said Klazen.
“Therefore, I am puzzled that we are still talking today about houses not yet allocated because the transfer of land has not yet taken place,” he said.
“There are delays in Keetmanshoop, Mariental, Karasburg, Henties Bay and Khorixas, because of those deeds. In the meantime winter is again upon us and the houses are empty with government forking our millions to guard the houses, money that could have been used to build other houses. In the meantime, those with the responsibility to see that these houses get allocated ignore clear directives,” Klazen said.
Many local authorities are yet to complete the transfer of land from NHE to town councils’ books. Klazen says this is despite the clear directives issued to all local authority councils.
He mentioned a meeting that sat sometime in April 2016 as the last meeting where guidelines were issued as to how councils should speed up the transfer of land that was allocated to the NHE for the construction of houses in the country.
An agitated Klazen was speaking at a consultative meeting with Swakopmund’s local authority leaders and regional NHE branch officials.
Klazen added that local authorities when experiencing problems with the directives should have consulted with the ministry instead of ignoring it.
He specifically singled out the Swakopmund Municipality and NHE, urging them to foster closer relations.
“It’s imperative that these houses are allocated. The municipality must make sure that the transfer of land to beneficiaries is completed within 30 days from today. NHE must then make sure that it is registered in the names of the beneficiaries within seven days and submit a report to the ministry in this regard,” Klazen said.
NHE was to construct 1,500 houses in Swakopmund of which 670 were already handed over and 137 should already have been completed, while the rest are under construction.