The Namibian Windhoek Shinovene Immanuel
Displayed with permission from allAfrica.com

THE City of Windhoek has agreed to negotiate with a South African construction company fronted by a Namibian businessman to build 79 houses at Khomasdal.

Details about this deal are included in council documents made available to the public on Thursday.

The city directed its property management department to negotiate with the joint venture between South African construction firm Amibex and Oluzizi engineering and construction which is owned by businessman Simon ‘Tupac’ Andjamba. Even though this project is being lauded by some at the city for doing what the municipality ignored in many years by entering into building houses, there are questions on why the joint venture was hand-picked instead of a public tender in order to test the market for best deals and conditions. In this case, the joint venture made a presentation to council and won the deal to start negotiations, amid allegations that the joint venture won the race for this project because it has connections to a manager in the office of the mayor. In fact, documents show that the proposed negotiations come after the two companies paid an all expenses trip to South Africa on 15 to 16 September 2016 for city councillors Moses Shiikwa, Immanuel Paulus and Brumelda Cornelius to inspect the type of houses built by the company. The city’s land delivery executive Steven Hochobeb and building inspector Israel Kahiurika were also part of the trip to the city of Tswane.

« The technical team councillors are in agreement that what they have seen is commendable and suitable, » the city report said.

The joint venture said it will fund the construction of 79 houses at Khomasdal extension 16 and sell them at an agreed price that is yet to be determined. This transaction will need ministerial approval. The draft agreement however shows that the joint venture might have more powers on the sale of the houses.

« The developer shall be entitled, acting as the agent of council, to sell the developed residential erven to members of the public on such terms and conditions and at such prices as the developer may in its sole and absolute discretion determine, » the draft agreement said. According to the city, the South African company is working on 4 000 housing units in South Africa.

« It can be construed (rightly or wrongly) that financial institutions and property developers lie at the heart of the problems of the poor to acquire property. In this regard, the revival of a holistic approach to housing should be viewed as an important approach to tackle the urban divide, » the city said.

The city said it faces challenges in their efforts to making serviced land available to the public.

The challenges include cumbersome institutional and regulatory challenges which makes land delivery costly and time-consuming.

Other reasons cited by the municipality are the monopoly in land ownership which affects prices and supply of land while the lack of land management and inadequate land and housing policies leave poor households victims to housing players which forces them to live in poor areas.

« Lack of transparency in the market and land use restrictions push prices to exorbitant levels. The result is that people revert to informal/illegal methods of land acquisition often triggering rapid rates of informal settlement formation, » the council document said. The city said the municipality will be selling houses together with the erf instead of selling plots to people who do not have the funds to build houses.

The municipality said the fact that it does not have money to build houses means it has to bring in private companies to construct the houses.

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