GOBABIS: The ambitious Build-Together Programme has come to a screeching halt in the Omaheke Region as the regional council struggles to sustain the highly labour-intensive project.
More than half of the houses envisaged under the programme have been standing incomplete for years now, after the appointed contractors failed to honour their obligations of completing the houses.
A number of such houses are at Gobabis, Epukiro and Aminuis, where the programme has mainly failed to progress beyond “window height” for most of these houses.
The situation has forced hundreds of would-be house owners under the Build-Together programme to join private housing savings schemes in efforts to put proper roofs over their heads.
The ‘Saamstaan’ (Stand Together) group housing savings scheme appears to be the most popular one amongst the lot, with some residents already having moved into their dwellings constructed under this scheme.
The Omaheke Regional Council, under whose direction the programme was decentralised, had on numerous occasions admitted the slow pace of the programme, putting the blame largely on inexperienced contractors who had been awarded construction tenders.
The preparedness of the respective regional councils to steer the programme has also been questioned by many in the field, as such institutions are often left to do damage control as opposed to implementing the programme.
Recently, the Omaheke Regional Council made use of a visit to the region by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics, Natural Resources and Public Administration in July, to register its pains with the Build-Together programme.
The regional council’s Deputy Director of Planning, Jogbeth Karuuombe told a delegation from the parliamentary standing committee led by Swapo-Party chief whip in the National Assembly, Ben Amathila that the slow pace at which the programme was progressing has not been received well by the beneficiaries.
“We have been trying to bring the programme back on track but it has proven difficult as it is dodged by various problems since its inception. We are now looking at different approaches to try and salvage the programme,” she said.
The regional council is however yet to pronounce itself on the steps it is envisaging to get the delayed programme back on track.
The Build-Together programme started during 1992/93 and was decentralised to the regional councils and local authorities in the 1998/1999 financial year.
This sub-programme provides individual housing loans to people earning low incomes, with monthly incomes not exceeding N.dollars 3 000 per month. It also assists low and middle income earners who do not have access to credit from financial institutions or where financial institutions regard it as a risk.
The maximum loan amount is N.dollars 40 000, and the interest rate varies from four to seven per cent over 20 years.