Noordoewer residents unhappy over poor quality houses

16 Sep 2013 05:20
NOORDOEWER, 16 SEP (NAMPA) - The Deputy Director of Rural Services in the //Karas Regional Council says the N.dollars 40 000 loans given to Build-Together beneficiaries by Government is not sufficient to hire qualified contractors to build the programme’s houses.
Nampa spoke to the Deputy Director, Augustinus Ucham after complaints were received about the bad quality of some of the Build-Together houses at the Noordoewer settlement.
This settlement is situated some 300 kilometres south of Keetmanshoop.
Beneficiaries of the programme told this news agency at Noordoewer last Wednesday that they are particularly upset about the foundations of nine of the houses which are yet to be handed over to their owners, but have already started cracking.
They also complained that the project has been dragging on from 2009, while work came to a standstill in May this year.
Some now say they will refuse to accept the houses once they are handed over as they fear that they could collapse at any time.
“I decided that if they hand over the houses, I will not accept my house because it might collapse, especially when that foundation gets wet.
These are houses we are expected to pay off for 20 years, and if they are already in this condition, how can we accept them?” Lineekela Sheekuli asked.
Annelien Jooste complained that she is tired of waiting for her house to be completed, especially as she lives in a house made of reeds.
“We have waited for a long time for our houses to be completed and handed over, but every time there is a problem. We want to move in,” Jooste charged.
Leon Swartbooi of PL Construction told the news agency that he is one of the people who worked on the construction of the houses, but when asked why the houses were constructed on weak foundations, he said he only did the plastering work while the actual construction was done by someone else.
“People are now confused, they do not know what to do. They are asking when the houses will be completed so that they can move in, but there is no answer from the //Karas Regional Council,” Swartbooi explained.
He noted that apart from the nine houses, he is busy with 16 other houses, for which construction commenced this year under the same programme.
He added that these houses were built on ‘strong’ foundations, and will be completed soon.
Approached for comment on the matter, the Chief Control Officer (CCO) at the Noordoewer settlement Alfred Muhongo denied having any direct supervision over the programme.
He referred this news agency to Ucham, who wanted to know why Muhongo refused to comment on a programme he is also responsible for.
“Why is he (Muhongo) referring you to me? He also deals with the programme, he was supposed to give you answers,” Ucham said on Friday.
He went on to state that the loans given to the beneficiaries were not sufficient to hire qualified contractors. Hence, the council opted to hire a group of local people to do the work under the supervision of a certain Tuban Goseb.
Ucham could not provide the names of the employees who worked on the actual construction, but said council is not taking any decisions against the workers or Goseb for constructing such poor quality houses due to their limited construction skills.
“In fact, it is not all nine houses which were built on poor foundations. I only know of two houses in that condition,” he said.
He added that council is faced with a situation where it now has to resort to taking funds from its coffers to remedy the situation, but said this will be solved 'soon'.
“We are planning to resolve the situation soon before we hand over the houses. We took this long because there is no way we can give such poor quality houses to beneficiaries,” he explained.