//Kharas Regional Office Park construction mess

09 Jun 2016 12:30pm
By Patience Smith
KEETMANSHOOP, 09 JUN (NAMPA) – Technical problems and planning mistakes between a municipality and regional council have delayed construction of the multimillion dollar //Kharas Regional Office Park.
The N.dollar 134 million worth four-storey project is delayed by almost six months and has been moved from the initial site to a nearby location in central Keetmanshoop.
Construction nearly commenced after the ground-breaking ceremony in January but was halted by the Keetmanshoop Municipality.
The //Kharas Regional Council apparently intended laying the bricks of the dream project, even in the absence of required approvals and documents in place.
//Kharas Chief Regional Officer Saul Kahuika admitted in an interview with Nampa on Wednesday that the municipality intervened and “put their foot down” when the constructors moved in.
The project is now scheduled to start at the end of June.
Kahuika said there was no proper coordination between the municipality and the regional council, which led to the change in plans.
The project was moved from the slope on which it would have rested next to a reservoir, to a flat area across the initial site. There, it will sit next to a building currently under construction for State security in the region.
Keetmanshoop Municipality Chief Executive Officer Desmond Basson told Nampa on Wednesday that technicians of the municipality advised the council’s technicians not to include the reservoir in their plans, as the town would need the resource in future “but they included it”.
Attention was brought to the water lines running beneath the site and future water pressure deficiencies on the top floor of the new building.
“It is a public sensitive area so we proposed that they conduct an environmental impact study and as such, also informed them to rezone the plot to a business plot before they start, but they (council) just went ahead without consulting or submitting plans,” Basson noted.
The municipality agreed to the ground-breaking ceremony but told the council behind closed doors to reconsider building plans.
“We said, let us start over, if this place is not viable, do not waste money. Then we offered them the other plot,” said Basson.
Sources allege the regional council was also swayed to the new site to prevent “the compromise of State security” as its building would have towered over their intelligence neighbours.
Kahuika said the municipality and his office should have addressed all issues earlier, but that all plans are now on track to proceed with construction.
“The most important thing was the municipality’s need to preserve the reservoir for future use. There is a slight modification to the plan and the delay is unfortunate, but we are about to start again and the construction period will remain 24 months,” he said.
Basson said the new plot consists of several business erven, which will be consolidated whilst construction is taking place. The plot will cost the council over N.dollars 2 million.
The tender was awarded to state-owned company August 26 UBM Construction, which falls under the Ministry of Defence, in partnership with Focus Engineering, a Windhoek-based company.
Kondjeni Nkandi Architects supervises the project.