26 Mar 2015 16:00pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 26 MAR (NAMPA) Sixty-two beneficiaries of the former Build-Together programme at Kalkrand were issued with the option to buy the plots earmarked for the now obsolete low-cost housing programme.
Seth Boois, the Kalkrand Village Council chief executive officer, said the plots measure around 400 square metres with prices below N.dollars 12 000 each.
Half of the 62 people were already approved beneficiaries of Build-Together funds for homes when the programme was halted at the inception of the national mass housing initiative.
The other 31 remained on the waiting list.
The Build-Together programme was implemented during the 1992/1993 financial year to house the low and ultra-low income earners of Namibia in both urban and rural areas. It was incorporated into Government's mass housing project at its launch in November 2013.
Those who were on the Build-Together programme's waiting list had their names listed as beneficiaries of the mass housing initiative.
Kalkrand is one of a few villages countrywide that had serviced land available at the advent of Governments mass housing programme.
Villages, however, are currently excluded from the initiative implemented by the National Housing Enterprise on behalf of Government.
This has led to calls late last year from village councillors in the Hardap and Karas regions for the return of the Build-Together programme. The councillors indicated that they would continue to wait for the mass housing scheme, but in the meantime wanted to address the calls by their constituents for housing.
The councillors also expressed doubt that villagers would be able to afford houses under the mass housing plan as unemployment was rife in rural Namibia.
In an interview with Nampa on Tuesday, Boois questioned when villages would finally become part of the mass housing programme.
He said in addition to providing housing, the programme would serve as a much-needed means of employment for many villagers and an economic boost for small towns.
Boois said that although the 62 families who now stand to buy the serviced erven are grateful at the opportunity to own land, they had concerns about payment and accessing funds with which to build homes.
When the Build-Together programme was stopped, the hopes for these people of owning a home were dashed. These are mostly people with no access to resources like bank financing or other loans to build homes, he said.
The council administrator was however optimistic that their village would continue its efforts to provide serviced land to its residents and to investors to stimulate employment.
We are currently busy with a huge town planning effort where we want to service a large portion of land for housing and business, as Kalkrand is strategically located to truly become a sub-regional business hub - a gateway to many surrounding places and people passing through, he said.
Boois also expressed hope that the newly-inaugurated Government would provide greater support to villages and settlements to become prosperous and self-sustainable in the near future.