The circus that is mass housing

14 February 2020 | Opinion

The pomp and fanfare that characterised the launch of the N$45 billion mass housing project in 2013 has faded like a shadow at sunset.

“The implementation of the programme will be scaled up for the remaining 15 years to ensure that approximately 12 000 houses are built per year in different parts of the country,” said then president Hikepunye Pohamba, to thunders of applause.

“For far too long, many families have lived in difficult conditions, without basic services such as clean drinking water, electricity and ablution facilities,” he added.

Almost seven years down the line, the status quo remains. Government coffers have been sucked dry by this project without any success to point at.

To his credit, Pohamba was passionate about this project – as doomed as it was. Since his term ended in 2015, no one has showed any will to carry on the work.

Sites have been abandoned all over the country, many completed units have not been handed over to desperate home seekers, while others are left to rot as no services are connected to them.

At Keetmanshoop, some of these units have become havens for street kids and passers-by who seek to relieve themselves. The less said about the Swakopmund units, the better.

What is happening is criminal. Elsewhere in the world, those in charge of the project would be hauled before a public hearing to explain how they put their heads on the pillow every night knowing many of their compatriots are out in the cold.

Pohamba promised that 185 000 houses will be built through this programme by 2030.

first phase was to run for two years and target all 14 regional capital centres by building an approximate 8 800 housing units, while 10 200 plots would be serviced at an estimated cost of N$2.7 billion. Seven years down the line, has this been achieved?

Approximately 12 000 houses were to be built per year in different parts of the country. Where is the evidence of this pompous promise?