1 201 units unoccupied

Mass housing described as 'failed political project'

17 June 2019 | Local News

A total of 1 201 houses constructed under government's mass housing project, which was initiated to address the housing crisis in major towns, are unoccupied either because they are incomplete, dilapidated, unaffordable or faulty.

Of this of the figure, 1 108 houses are still under construction, while 93 are complete but are yet to be occupied.

These figures were provided by the ministry of urban and rural development in the National Assembly.

Deputy minister Derek Klazen was responding to questions by Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) president Mike Kavekotora last Thursday.

Kavekotora branded the housing project a “failed political project that was not well-thought”, citing the number of unoccupied, dilapidated and expensive houses as his chief reasons.

In his response, Klazen said 3 958 houses have been constructed under the government project so far. These houses are at different stages, as of this figure, 2 819 are complete and ready for occupation.

“The remaining 1 139 are still to be completed in terms of construction and are at different stages,” he said.

A further 2 819 houses are fully completed and are occupied, statistics show. Of the 2 958 houses that have been constructed so far under the programme, 3 074 were allocated to beneficiaries.

Allocation refers to the sale or pre-sale of a house before it is even constructed or completed.

Occupancy, on the other hand, refers to when a buyer physically takes possession of and moves into the house. When broken down, for individual towns, the figures indicate that 638 houses in Swakopmund are still under construction and unfit for occupation.

In the capital, 362 houses are yet to be occupied as they are not yet connected to the bulk service network. In Opuwo, 24 houses are still under construction, while one house in Nkurenkuru is yet to be handed to its owner, as it was constructed outside the scope of the project.

Otavi has two houses that are awaiting allocation after a sewerage connection issue that delayed the process was addressed.

Meanwhile, in Katima Mulilo, the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) is in the process of allocating 17 complete houses, while two have been allocated, with buyers awaiting transfer and bond registration.

In the Karasburg, 57 houses are empty as there are no people that can afford them, while 83 are under construction in Keetmanshoop.

“With respect to the affordability challenges experienced, this is related to the broader economic environment currently experienced in the country and we continue to look for buyers who can afford the houses,” Klazen said.

Four houses in Rundu could not be occupied as they were damaged by heavy rains.

Additionally, Lüderitz (1), Outjo (1), Khorixas (2) and Mariental (3) also have empty houses.

In Henties Bay, only three houses are yet to be occupied due to the cancellation of sales agreements.

The ministry is committed towards the expedition of the occupation of the completed houses, the deputy minister added.