Namibia: Katima Homeowners Unhappy With Houses

18 February 2021

ABOUT 45 homeowners at Cowboy Extension 21 are unhappy with houses they purchased from Shikuh Investment because they claim they are sub-standard.

In 2016, the Katima Mulilo Town Council entered a public private partnership (PPP) with seven companies, one of them Shikuh Investment which was contracted for bulk servicing of land and the construction of 187 houses.

The Shikuh Investment contract was to cater for middle income earners with house prices ranging from N$630 000 to N$790 000. The houses were one, two or three-bedroom units with the garage optional to the purchaser.

One of the frustrated home owners, Deliah Njahi, who spoke to The Namibian at the weekend, said she bought a three-bedroom house in September 2019 but soon after termites started damaging her kitchen cupboards. She reported the issue to Shikuh Investment but she was referred to the constractors.

"The contractor only offered to fix my cupboards as there was apparently nothing they could do about the termite problem as it is underground. However, they can only fix my cupboards upon receiving payment from the developer. I wrote to the developer who promised to take up the matter with management.

"It has been eight months since I laid my complaints to the developer but every time I am told the matter is still under discussion. Every morning, I sweep out heaps of ants from my house and it gets worse by the day. This is a house I am still paying for, imagine if this is the state the houses are in within two years of occupation, what about in 10 years?" she asked.

Another two-bedroom home owner, Precilla Tatelo, said she was one of the first people to move into these houses in February 2018 and she has also been experiencing similar problems such as termite invasion, broken door handles and malfunctioning toilets.

"For the past few weeks, flushing the toilet was a major problem because it was overflowing. They fixed it but it did not last, until I bought my own materials and hired someone to fix it," she said.

Cliff Siambango, also an affected Cowboy Extension 21 home owner, said other challenges they face with the developer is poor communication between sales agents and home owners for basic queries about their contracts as they hardly get a proper response. In addition, he said the initial specifications of the house were changed but the prices remained the same.

"The houses we got are different from what was advertised. The plans presented to us initially included air-conditioning, wall fence, cupboards, a build-in stove and many other things. It seems the two-year guarantee on the homes is just for show because our complaints are not being attended to.

"Roofs leak when it rains and the ceiling in my house recently fell because they forgot bricks in there. My computer was damaged," he said.

Siambango added that they gave Shikuh Investment about a year to respond and attend to their problems but they were not assisted. He added that this time around they will demand attention from them as they will organise themselves and hold a peaceful demonstration.

"We demand that the building inspector re-evaluates the houses in our presence and that they attend to all the defects, as well as put all the things they promised in the initial plans," he said. Efforts to get comment from Sylvester Mieze from Shikuh Investment were unsuccessful. Katima Mulilo Town Council chief executive officer Raphael Liswaniso said he was not aware of the matter. "Please allow me to investigate the matter and [I] will revert to you within seven working days," he said.

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