The National Housing Enterprise (NHE) has embarked on a pilot study for the construction of houses for qualified land owners living in informal settlements.
Speaking at the official site handover of eight houses under the project on Wednesday, the acting chief executive officer of NHE, Nick Hibbert, said land acquisition remains the toughest challenge and it is more prevalent in localities where there is a great demand from people who cannot afford NHE houses.
He said the four-month project, expected to start in January 2020, was initially meant to build 20 houses in Windhoek for N$10 million in total and adverts were placed in the media, calling for interested residents to register between 16 April and 10 May 2019.
Hibbert said out of the 49 interested applicants, only 13 met the qualifying criteria which include fixed income, land title and updated municipality rates and taxes.
Of the individuals who qualified, only eight will be part of pilot project as others withdrew for various reasons.
The eight houses will be constructed in Windhoek's informal settlements at a total cost of N$8 million.
“For this project, we did not look in the current waiting list. We looked at people owning land, because NHE’s ability to provide affordable housing is, in most cases, heavily dependent on toughest challenge [which is the] availability of serviced land,” he said.
At the same event, the minister of urban and rural development, Peya Mushelenga, said Namibia is faced with a persistent backlog in serviced land and housing, a situation that is manifesting itself in urban sprawl and the growth of informal settlements.
The ministry has allocated N$50 million towards housing development in the country through relevant stakeholders such as the municipality and NHE, he said.
“Government, in response to the needs of our people, has embarked upon this pilot project to test the viability of improving houses in the informal settlements,” said Mushelenga.
Nangula Imene, who is a beneficiary of the pilot project, said she applied for a plot in 2002 and only got one in 2012, where her house will be built. - Nampa