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Housing initiative for poor 'inspires' – Mushelenga

Town: Omaruru
Value: N/A
Project Date: 21 May 2018
Urban and Rural Development minister Peya Mushelenga unveiling a plaque of one of the 92 houses
Urban and Rural Development minister Peya Mushelenga unveiling a plaque of one of the 92 houses

URBAN development minister Peya Mushelenga said last week that the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia's work is "nothing but inspirational".

He said this at the official handover of 92 houses to the federation's members at Omaruru's Ozondje suburb.

Housing remains a key national priority because it addresses issues of inequality, social harmony, economic development and political stability, he noted.

“Housing is a national problem, which requires all stakeholders to contribute to the solution. Thus, government acknowledges the role of the private sector in providing houses to Namibians,” the minister said.

The urban development ministry worked with the Shack Dwellers Federation and the National Housing Action Group, FNB Namibia, the Harold Pupkewitz Foundation, Ohorongo Cement and Neo Paints to build the Omaruru houses.

The ministry paid for the construction of 66 houses out of the 92.

According to Mushelenga, the government has contributed about N$55 million to the Shack Dwellers' Federation since independence.

“Today, we celebrate the collective efforts to provide housing to Namibians who cannot afford houses in the mainstream market. Families have bridged the affordable housing gap through the federation, which has shown how Namibian men and women strive to improve their living conditions,” he commented.

“This is proof of Harambee at work because the government can't do it alone.”

The federation is a network of 751 community-led savings groups consisting of over 23 000 members in all 14 regions. Collectively, they have saved about N$26 million, and have constructed over 4 000 houses nationally since inception.

In May, at the handover of 36 houses to the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia at Swakopmund, first lady Monica Geingos described the initiative as an example of poor Namibians taking the bull by the horns when it came to meeting the government halfway – and not just accepting handouts.

Besides the 92 houses handed over yesterday, Omaruru made another plot available for an additional 44 houses under the same project.

There are nearly 4 800 federation members in Erongo, and 524 houses have been built to date, excluding 100 houses under construction at Walvis Bay, and the 44 additional houses to be built at Omaruru.

The event follows a week after deputy minister Derek Klazen rebuked Swakopmund and Henties Bay for the unoccupied mass houses at those towns.

Klazen said the two municipalities and the National Housing Enterprise had failed to synchronise their roles in the national mass housing programme.

Since the launch of the programme five years ago, about 400 of the planned 2 300 houses at Swakopmund were completed. At Henties Bay, 53 houses were completed, and 22 are occupied.


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