4 January 2013

Namibia: Home Affairs to Get New Offices

The Ministry of Home Affairs, after operating in a building that is not suitable for a working environment and possesses a lot of challenges to the ministry for more than 22 years, will get new offices in Windhoek's Khomasdal.

At the same time the ministry realised that the former Continental Hotel which was bought for N$18 million in 2007, when more office space was needed to accommodate an increasing staff compliment, is uninhabitable.

The building covers erven 869 and 1546 and the Ministry of Works and Transport purchased it on behalf of the Ministry of Home Affairs. To make matters worse, the ministry discovered towards the end of last year that only erf 1546 had been registered under the ministry, which was confirmed by Diekmann Associates, the law firm that registered the title deed on behalf of the Ministry of Works and Transport.

"It is a shame that the ministry has to operate under such difficult circumstances for years. I don't know why the situation continued for so long and why the ministry was not given the necessary status and priority," Home Affairs Minister Pendukeni Iivula-Ithana told The Namibian.

She said the current Home Affairs building posses a lot of challenges to the ministry such as security and parking for both staff and clients.

"The public hall is too small hence the queues seen outside the building which creates the perception that there are too many people looking for services at the ministry."

According to Iivula-Ithana the Continental building has a lot of structural and engineering defects and it contains a lot of water pipes that are old and burst now and then.

"The cost to maintain this building, that is not even providing optimum office space, will be higher than acquiring a site to construct a new head office."

The Ministry of Works and Transport already received the green light from the City of Windhoek for an erf in Khomasdal where the new head office for the ministry will be constructed.

"The construction of the building is now a priority of the ministry. Many institutions are depending on statistics which they obtain from the Ministry of Home Affairs. So if we don't have proper facilities, how would it be possible to provide these institutions with sufficient and accurate information?" said Iivula-Ithana. The financial implications to cater for the total construction cost still has to be determined.

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