RURAL and urban development minister Erastus Uutoni has called on stakeholders in the housing sector to come up with innovative ideas in tackling the country’s housing backlog that stands at more than 100 000 housing units.
“Given that (housing backlog), my message today is straightforward and I am simply saying we have been talking for too long and the time to innovate is now for us who are responsible for housing delivery,” he said.
Uutoni made these remarks on Wednesday at the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of 77 low-cost houses at Keetmanshoop, being constructed by Zhong Mei Engineering Group (Pty) Ltd and expected to be completed in January next year.
“If all (housing sector) role players (NHE, local authorities, government and private sector) have a common enemy in the name of homelessness, why is it difficult for us to win the war?” he asked.
He called for collaborative efforts among role players in the housing sector to free the people from homelessness. “I have a keen interest in how we the stakeholders are collaborating to deal with this housing issue,” he remarked, and noted that he refuses to believe that homelessness could not be overcome in reasonable time.
“I feel that our existing commitments in that regard need improvement to arrest the housing situation as a team,” he added.
Utoni said the possibility exists that the prevailing housing situation among a small population like Namibia could be addressed if the focus is on practical solutions in the delivery of housing.
NHE chief executive officer Gisbertus Mukulu revealed the enterprise constructed 422 units countrywide during the first phase of RFP.
He said RFP phase one for the current fiscal year represents an investment in a reasonable time.
“I feel that our commitments in that regard needs improvement to arrest the housing situation as a team,” he added.
Uutoni said the possibility exists the housing challenge facing a small population like Namibia could be addressed if the focus is on practical solutions in the delivery of housing.
He said RFP phase one for the current fiscal year represents a value of N$167 million. According to Mukulu, NHE will construct 335 houses during RFP phase two which will be worth N$124 million. “Under this arrangement NHE makes land for construction available and the houses will be sold to customers on the enterprise’s housing waiting list,” he explained.
Keetmanshoop mayor Gaudentia KrÖhne said the allocation of standardised housing units to all residents is difficult for any town, and thus the provision of low-cost housing is a national issue.
Because of that, she added, the search for ways to tackle this had resulted in many initiatives being taken by various stakeholders at different levels.