Urban and rural development minister Sophia Shaningwa officially handed over 29 social houses to beneficiaries of the mass housing development programme of the Bukalo village council in the Zambezi region on Sunday.
The Bukalo village council is one of the two local authorities chosen in 2013 in the Zambezi region for the implementation of the first phase of the mass housing development programme, and so far, 86 houses have been completed. In Katima Mulilo, a total of 202 houses were completed.
Shaningwa noted that it is a pleasant sight to observe that houses in these two local authorities built under the mass housing programme had not been vandalised.
"I am pleased to see that the destructive hands of vandalism by members of the public towards the houses has not reached the village, unlike in some other local authorities where the houses were vandalised and had to be repaired at huge cost. This is a very welcoming sight and much appreciated because these houses have been constructed with taxpayers' money and are meant to benefit Namibians," she said, adding that the leadership at Bukalo did a great job of looking after the houses.
The minister said it is very important that once the construction of the houses is about to be completed, the screening of and allocation to beneficiaries are also finalised in order to avoid a situation of houses being left unoccupied and at risk of being vandalised.
"Any delay, either at the construction level or the allocation and occupation of the houses, will definitely negatively affect the provision of the houses to the needy, a situation that must be avoided. In this connection, I am urging contractors and others to redouble their efforts. The same appeal goes to financial institutions to which people who are in need of the houses go for mortgage financing," she stated.
Bukalo Village Council chairperson Charles Siyauya , who was also speaking at the same event, noted that it was a historical event because many people will now have a place to call home.
"Decent accommodation for every Namibian is a right, and not a privilege. If birds have houses in the jungle, what about a human being? It is our duty as elected leaders to provide affordable accommodation to the electorate," he continued.
Siyauya said they acknowledge and thank the Zambezi regional council and the National Housing Enterprise for starting the mass housing project at Bukalo.
"We are happy that 86 of our residents will own houses during the mass housing project. We are, however, saddened that the majority of our residents sleep in dilapidated houses at Mundaniko and Bukalo in general. I will fail in my duty if I do not invite you (minister) to visit Mundaniko and other areas not yet tackled. We fully understand the economic situation in our country, and our electorate still have hope and trust in the Swapo government that if not today, then tomorrow, they will be attended to," he stressed.
Albius Kamwi, the ngambela (senior counsellor) of the Masubia Traditional Authority, noted that they are pleased to see that taxpayers' money is put to good use by financing such projects to benefit locals.
"We are expressing our sincere gratitude that the government of Namibia is ensuring that taxpayers' money is actually bearing fruits as we can see that it is being reserved for developments such as this one," he added.