Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 12:30

Skeletons are falling out of the Mass Housing Scheme closet faster than the government and local authorities can prevent it, even after the special advisor to the President, Inge Zamwaani, visited Swakopmund to meet all the companies that received tenders.

In Walvis Bay recipients of mass housing units have had their municipal service cut after almost ten months of non-payment. The houses were handed to the overjoyed owners, some of whom are members of the Namibian Police, by Urban and Rural Development Minister, Sophia Shaningwa, at the end of May last year.
According to Kevin Adams, spokesperson of the Walvis Bay Municipality, the financial department of the local authority recently had to enter into negotiations with the recipients of houses under the scheme to try and negotiate a way forward.
“At the time of the hand over, the municipal services was connected in the name of the National Housing Enterprise. None of the new owners, who were subsidised by the government to acquire the houses, acted to get the services transferred to their own names which created the problem,” he said.
Adams said the recipients claim that they were under the impression that the payment for services was part of the government’s subsidies and for that reason did not go through the process of registering the services in their own names. He said that the residents now have to pay the National Housing Enterprise as well as the municipality the arrears that accumulated in this regard.
In Swakopmund, one of the contractors working for Ferusa Capital Partners who received a tender from government to construct 600 houses, New Era Investments PTY LTD, declared a Builder’s Lien and erected a barbed wire fence around their allotted construction site. 
A Builder’s Lien or Construction Lien is a claim made against a property by a contractor or other professional who has supplied labour or materials for work on that property. Construction Liens are designed to protect professionals from the risk of not being paid for services rendered. 
The case is currently in the hands of the lawyers representing the two companies. 
Another company resigned as a subcontractor from Ferusa after battling for payment for a portion of the building completed. After eventually receiving payment the contractor did not continue with work and New Era Investments became the new subcontractor.
Last week, the demolition of at least fifty houses being constructed by Delta Group Holdings started. At first only the houses that were built by Delta were demolished but this week the contractor had to start digging up the foundations laid for the 400 low-cost houses because of substandard quality.