17 Feb 2015 14:40pm
KAISOSI, 17 FEB (NAMPA) - Close to 400 workers at the Mass Housing project at the Kaisosi informal settlement in Rundu were released from work on Tuesday.
The workers downed tools on Monday morning due to the non-payment of their outstanding salaries owed to them since December last year.
The workers, most of whom are labourers, planned to go on a peaceful demonstration yesterday to air their grievances to the regional office of the National Housing Enterprise (NHE) - the implementing institution of the multi-billion-dollar project.
They were, however, stopped from doing so by the Kavango East regional organiser for the Metal and Allied of Namibia Workers Union (MANWU), Richard Matengu, who advised them to put the demonstration on hold as it was not legal.
Matengu told this agency on Tuesday that all workers at the project have officially been told to go home on Tuesday until such time that their outstanding salary dispute between the main contractor and NHE had been ironed out.
The workers were also released because there are no materials on site to work with as the suppliers have also stopped supplying materials to the project due to non-payments.
The Mass Houses are being built at the Kaisosi settlements Extension 10 area on the eastern outskirts of Rundu.
The NHE appointed Green Circle Investment Company from Windhoek to construct 318 houses here at a cost of N.dollars 89 million.
One of the Green Cycle Investment Companys managers, who refused to be named as he is not allowed to talk to the media, confirmed to this agency that they were aware of the present situation.
He said they are also waiting for payment for work done from the NHE, and expressed disappointment with the NHEs alleged delaying tactics.
Green Cycle Investment Company completed almost 120 houses in five months. According to the contract, the NHE was supposed to pay them their monies for every 60 houses which were being finished.
Efforts by Nampa to obtain comment from NHE spokeperson Eric Libongani proved futile.
Meanwhile, Green Cycle Investment Company had sub-contracted four companies on the Rundu mass housing project.
The sub-contractors are Eputuko Construction (EPK) Company, Erastus Tangeni Nujoma (ETN), Quality Height Maintenance Solution Company as well as the Welwitchia Construction Company.
The sub-contracting companies also expressed their dissatisfaction with the NHEs payment delays.
The sub-contractors are unhappy that since they have not received their payments from the main contractors, they have also not been able to pay their workers salaries.
The non-payment has affected us a lot because we started with bank loans, and they are nagging us and trying to repossess our properties because of the non-payment.
We, therefore, demand payment in full, which must include all interest resulting from non-payment, said one of the sub-contractors who refused to be identified.