06 May 2014 13:40pm
KAISOSI, 06 MAY (NAMPA) The Government-initiated mass housing project at Rundu is experiencing massive delays because affected residents are demanding compensation before they give up their crop fields.
The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) handed over the site for the construction of the houses in February this year, but commencement of the project has been slow due to a dispute over land between the affected residents and the contractors.
The mass housing project is being built at the Kaisosi informal settlement Extension 10 on the eastern outskirts of Rundu, where residents have their subsistence mahangu crop fields.
The NHE appointed Green Circle Investment Company based in Windhoek to construct 318 houses at Rundu at a cost of N.dollars 89 million.
Octagon Construction was subcontracted by Green Circle Investment company to do the servicing of the area, which covers a total of 10 000 square metres of land.
Octagon construction company site foreman, Ivan Dama told Nampa on Tuesday they are currently only servicing 1.4 kilometres (km) of land which will cater for 50 houses only.
He said servicing of land for the remaining houses is on hold.
The owners of the crop fields want compensation before they give up their mahangu fields, and we dont know who should compensate them, said the site foreman.
The servicing of the land includes installation of water, electricity, road and street lights.
Dama explained that the stoppage by Kaisosi residents is delaying them because they are expecting builders to be on site on 10 May.
The Octagon site foreman indicated that the stoppage will delay contractors of houses to complete on time, and according to the contract they were given a minimum construction period of 10 months.
Several affected Kaisosi residents told this reporter on condition of anonymity they will only move once the compensation offer has been made to them.
They must buy us coffins and bury us in them before they can start building their houses on our ancestral land, said one of the residents.
The residents are claiming that the area earmarked for the mass housing project does not fall under the jurisdiction of the town council, but according to the town council the area stretching for about seven kilometres from the town centre falls under the council.
Efforts to obtain comment from NHE Corporate Communications Manager Eric Libongani proved futile, as he declined to conduct a telephonic interview with Nampa, and instead asked that all questions be e-mailed to him.
However, two weeks later, no response is forthcoming.