BUITEPOS: The settlement of Buitepos is grappling with an acute shortage of housing for its growing number of workers, most of whom are transferred here by their respective companies and government agencies.
The accommodation shortage at the settlement, which is situated in the Omaheke Region, is so serious that many offices, including that of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, are left unmanned as their staff fail to secure accommodation.
Only a few dwellings have been erected to cater for some officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, as well as those of the Safety and Security Ministry.
The Ministry of Health’s staff complement of three, who were posted to service its office at Buitepos, have been forced to carry out sporadic trips to the settlement from Gobabis, which is situated about 110 kilometres away.
Several other offices at the settlement, such as those of the Ministries of Finance, Home Affairs and Immigration, and Agriculture, Water and Forestry are severely understaffed as a result of the housing crisis.
Nampa has also learned that many Government institutions and private sector staff members who are offered opportunities to relocate to the settlement have been turning down such offers due to the shortage of accommodation.
Recently, several employees of different entities at the settlement were left without a roof over their heads after they were evicted from the building where they stayed.
The building, a former unused bar, had been partitioned into small bedrooms for the about 30 tenants. When a new landlord however took charge of the building, he decided to evict the group on short notice.
The group has, with the assistance of the settlement office, set up temporary structures on un-serviced land.
The settlement’s chairperson, Naftali Kambungu told Nampa in an interview on Thursday that the office has instituted measures to deal with the housing shortage, although it will take some time before the situation is entirely solved.
He noted that the office, which falls under the Omaheke Regional Council, has started clearing land for servicing erven at the settlement.
“Land is available here but it still needs to be serviced with water and electricity connections before it can be availed to members of the public seeking land,” he said.
Kambungu noted that there has however been no budgetary provision for the servicing of land during the current financial period, which runs until early 2013.
“As soon as funds are released during the next budget for such purpose, the exercise will start and hopefully some serviced land will become available to help ease the accommodation shortage at Buitepos,” said Kambungu.
Buitepos is largely inhabited by immigration officials, police officers and their families stationed at the Trans-Kalahari Border-post at the settlement.
The area was declared a settlement by the Ministry of Regional and Local Government, Housing and Rural Development in 2010. It is administered by the Omaheke Regional Council, which is mandated with the daunting task of bringing development to the area.