Outsourcing of low-cost housing irks residents

Oshakati residents complain of poor workmanship that has led to structural defects in their new homes.

07 January 2021 | Local News

TUYEIMO HAIDULA

OSHAKATI



A decision by the Oshakati town council to hand over its housing waiting list to private developers has backfired.

The developers are now accused of having built substandard houses for residents who had preferred to do it themselves.

The municipality, through its spokesperson Katarina Kamari, in 2018 admitted that the council had allocated serviced plots to 36 developers to build houses for those on its waiting list. Most of the plots are in Extension 16 and Ekuku. Those on the waiting list were unhappy with the prices quoted by the developers, saying they preferred to build at their own pace - an option that was not on the table.

Some of the houses were handed over to their new owners in 2019.



Inspection

One developer, Fysal Development Company, is accused of building houses that fell apart within a few months after completion.

Namibian Sun paid a visit to the houses to investigate the homeowners' complaints.

In some of the houses, the bathroom or kitchen tiles are falling off the walls. The plaster and paint of most of these houses are also in a poor condition. The houses were built in a flood-prone area, yet no stormwater drainage was installed.

Some of the houses that are yet to be occupied have cracks in the walls. “We are paying a lot of money for these houses yet the company is refusing to assist occupants whose houses are falling apart. They say the guarantee period has lapsed and we should do the renovations ourselves. We feel this is unfair as the house started cracking just a few months after moving in,” one of the occupants complained.

Denials

Yakeem Peacock, senior executive at Fysal Development, said they were not given enough time to respond to Namibian Sun's queries. Peacock also said he would have preferred to accompany the reporter to the houses to give a better explanation of the situation.

He denied that the company did substandard work. “We are among the few developers in Oshakati that have managed to happily and successfully hand over quite a number of houses to our clients in the given period. Most of the issues have already been resolved except for a few which we are awaiting responses from other parties,” he said.

Peacock said they had repainted 95% of the houses and would complete the remaining 5% after the annual builder's holiday.

“To generalise these few incidents and apply them to all properties handed over during the above period may be an exaggeration. The term 'falling apart' is quite excessive and may misrepresent the facts,” he said.

Peacock denied that the houses have flooded, despite evidence that some of the occupants have unsuccessfully tried to solve the problem on their own. “Our houses are all equipped with drainage systems as per required standards. We further go the extra mile of extending/lifting our foundations/floor level, which I believe would not be an exaggeration to say are higher than any other contractors in the area in which our properties are built even though this is costlier to do which is extra value to our clients,” he said.

“We are not aware of clients not being able to enter their properties which were built by us. If you are referring to stormwater channels outside the property, that does not fall under our authority and I therefore cannot comment,” he said.

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