18 Dec 2014 18:30pm
MARIENTAL, 18 DEC (NAMPA) Controversy and a mixed response marked the handover of 40 houses under the mass housing programme here on Wednesday.
The Mariental Municipality, the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) and the Hardap Regional Council held the handover ceremony for the first batch of houses in the Aimablaagte location at the town.
The town is tasked with constructing 268 houses in total.
While there was joy among the first 40 recipients, there were accusations and complaints regarding the selection of some of those who received homes.
Speaking towards the end of the official programme, chairperson of the Hardap Regional Councils Management Committee Jeremia van Neel suggested that it was possible that people who already own homes may have received other houses. He also said that persons with higher salaries who are able to receive home-financing through banks, should not be considered for houses under the mass housing scheme.
We as regional leaders should take ownership. What is not right is not right. We should not let those with more opportunities take away homes from those who are homeless, Van Neel said to applause from the public.
Town mayor Alex Kamburute concurred with Van Neel, saying that greater consultations on beneficiaries were lacking in the entire process. He accused the municipality and the NHE of perusing outdated lists from the Build-Together project and random undefined criteria from which to select recipients.
Kamburute said the regional leadership, including Hardap governor Katrina Hanse-Himarwa, was on the verge of postponing the handover, but in an effort to prevent vandalism during the holiday period, they decided to proceed.
The leaders were accused of removing four beneficiaries on the eve of the handover, allegedly because of their affiliation to the DTA of Namibia party.
Kamburute responded that one of the four people withdrew voluntary while the other three were replaced with people deemed needier. He said it included a person living with disabilities.
He also said that the three names were not entirely removed, but were deferred to the list for recipients of the next batch of houses at the end of February next year.
Of the 40 houses, 19 houses were low-cost houses to be subsidised by Government up to 60 per cent. The two-bedroom houses are designed for people who earn around N.dollars 2 500 per month. It cost N.dollars 208 000 to build. With the government subsidy, the recipient pays only N.dollars 91 000 or around N.dollars 600 per month.
The remaining 21 houses were developed with mass housing funds under the NHEs commercial creditlink option. These houses come in four types, of which the cheapest is N.dollars 420 000 and the most expensive is almost N.dollars 600 000.
A number of people withdrew from buying these houses, citing the high cost. Other buyers on the NHE list, however, stepped in to buy the homes.