Contractors at Rundu project halt work over non-payment

04 Sep 2013 13:20
By Olavi Haikera
RUNDU, 04 SEP (NAMPA) - Contractors building over 50 houses at Rundu have stopped their work due to alleged non-payment by the Chinese investor who is building the houses.
The investor, Stina Wu, made news last year when she sponsored an all-expenses-paid trip to China for some Rundu councillors.
Some local property developers attributed the subsequent awarding of the prime land by the council to the Chinese investor to that trip.
Wu bought the 3 517 square metres of land which the houses are being built on from the Rundu Town Council at a cost of N.dollars 5 per square metre, as the land was not serviced.
The council has already signed a deed of sale for the land.
The multi-million dollar housing project intends to build over 250 houses at Rundu’s new extension eight to be known as ‘Rundu Rainbow Village’.
The housing project started on a controversial note, as the houses were being built without approval from the town council’s building inspectors and town planner.
It has not yet been established whether the construction of the current 53 houses has since been approved by the town council’s building inspectors.
Some three companies were sub-contracted by Wu to construct the houses, build roads, and install street lights and transformers, and they started working on these in March this year.
Nampa has it on good authority that the contractors who are responsible for the electricity, lights and roads stopped working some two months ago, as Wu is allegedly yet to pay them for the work done so far.
“We stopped working two months ago because she is not paying us and we are stranded as we also have bills to pay,” said one of the electricity contractors who asked not to be named.
The contractor said they have amongst others so far installed two transformers and 27 street lights.
This reporter has established that the Chinese investor allegedly owes the road contractor over N.dollars 370 000 for the construction of four gravel roads.
The contractors indicated that they are growing impatient and are increasingly getting frustrated over the non-payment, as Wu has not even given them reasons for the delays.
Only those who were contracted to construct the houses and install roofing have apparently been paid so far.
Approached for comment, Chan Close Corporation Construction Company owner Wu accused the contractors of lying, saying she has paid the outstanding amounts owed to them.
Wu indicated that she only instructed the contractor responsible for the construction of the roads, Shavati Company from continuing with its work because they were “too slow”.
She however indicated that although he only completed 40 per cent of the job, she paid him for having done 70 per cent of the job and has now brought in her own construction company to complete the road work.
“When Shavati stopped working he demanded full payment and I told him that I will only pay him once the job is completed,” she noted.
Wu stated that the construction of the 53 houses are completed.
In January this year, the Chinese businesswoman allegedly defied two notices by the town council which ordered her to cease construction.
The notices were issued on 17 and 24 January this year, instructing her to stop the construction of the houses situated at Extension Eight, after failing to pay a N.dollars 147 000 submission fee to the town council to have its building plans scrutinised and approved.
The houses were being built on land which was yet to be fully serviced, meaning there was no telecommunication infrastructure and sewerage lines in the area.
The businesswoman said the site is now fully serviced with roads, sewerage and electricity infrastructure, but investigations by this reporter revealed the contrary.
Wu also constructed the multi-million dollar Galaxy Shopping Mall at Rundu, which accommodates 55 small shops.