Walvis: Empty houses, erven to be sold

The municipality intends to give first-time buyers preference during the process, its spokesperson said.

03 August 2021 | Local News

LEANDREA LOUW







WALVIS BAY

The Walvis Bay council will sell its available erven in Kuisebmond and Narrville by way of public bidding under the Massive Urban Land Servicing Project (MULSP).

According to the council agenda, 15 of the 102 unallocated houses have defects and are not ready for occupation. They will be sold as is.

“Valuations for accommodating defects must be made before the final sale process is determined. It was recommended that the municipal valuator be instructed to do a final valuation of all improvements on all these erven to determine defects and shortcomings, and that once this is received, a submission be made with regards to upset prices for the improvements as well as to finalise conditions of sale,” the agenda stated.

Walvis Bay municipal communications officer Anita Kaihiva said the valuation process was underway.

“The time frame is to be determined soon. The delay was due to the fact that the valuator had to isolate in terms of Covid-19 procedures.”

Kaihiva said they intend to give first-time buyers preference during the process. “However, the sales conditions are to be set once the valuation is done and the properties are advertised.”

The empty houses have been a bone of contention for local residents, with some threatening to occupy the houses and others demanding answers from council on the way forward.

“Council engaged the ministry of urban and rural development on several occasions, seeing that it was a joint project. However, feedback in this regard took a little longer than expected. It is not considered to be a delay, though, as there was no time frame set for council to decide to sell the houses.”

Kahiva said the council has a few erven available to sell, i.e. those that were not sold during the May public bidding as well as non-residential erven.

Only MULSP houses will be offered for sale, she added.

No response

The council agenda for July shows that in a letter dated 17 February 2017, the ministry’s executive director was informed of concern about quality control pertaining to the houses, yet no response was forthcoming.

“Several new house owners reported defects to their homes. Unfortunately, these defects were identified after the defect’s liability period had lapsed”, and “this made it impossible to hold the contractors liable for the repairs”.

In another letter to the executive director dated 25 April 2019, it was proposed that the cost of repairs be defrayed from the proceeds from the sale of land. This request also went unanswered.

Investigation

Meanwhile, residents at the harbour town anxiously await the results of an MULSP audit.

A number of high-ranking municipal officials are still on suspension pending an Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) investigation by the They are municipal CEO Muronga Haingura, general manager of community and economic development Augistino Victor, manager for property and housing Jack Manale and property clerk Constance Summers.

The suspensions came after the ACC raided their offices and seized equipment on 9 December 2020. The anti-graft agency is investigating allegations of corruption in relation to an alleged lack of transparency and unaccounted funds – to the tune of N$24 million – believed to belong to the MULSP.

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