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SA firm gets mass housing job

Shinovene Immanuel, Rukee Kaakunga, The Namibian

TWO South African property development companies that won the tender to build more than 1 000 housing units in Windhoek under the government’s mass housing programme, say they intend to erect double the number on the same piece of land.

The National Housing Enterprise (NHE), which is in charge of implementing the programme, is understood to have given South African companies Calgro M3 and Bigen Africa a contract to build 1 191 units in Otjomuise but the companies have decided to build 2 523 residential units instead.

Calgro M3 is well known for the construction of low cost houses, known in South Africa as reconstruction and development programme (RDP) houses while Bigen Africa is an engineering firm.

The legal and financial implications of the company’s move have not been established, but Calgro M3, which is reportedly in the process of registering their local firm in Namibia, has roped in a middleman local company - Afrikuumba Construction.

Wayne Williams, Calgro Group chief legal officer confirmed on Wednesday that they will increase the number of houses they are contracted to build and are currently registering a company that will form part of a joint venture with Afrikuumba Construction.

Williams told The Namibian that the layout of the initial project has been changed since their involvement in the project.

“ ... From a normal medium-cost housing project, where only free standing houses would be erected, to a fully integrated mixed use project whereby different types of free-standing simplex and duplex units, semi-detached units and multi-storey units will be erected, all varying in size and prices,” he said.

Williams said according to their new layout, there will be free standing single and multi-storey and semi-detached houses of 43m2, 45m2, 52m2, 62m2 and 70m2, ranging from one bedroom, two bathroom to three bedroom and two bathroom units.

“These are normal stand alone and semi-detached houses. The walk-up units are flats and will vary from 40m2 to about 52m2 in size. There will be approximately 1 150 flats and the rest will be houses,” he said.

Even though NHE is tight-lipped about the awarding of mass housing building contracts, The Namibian understands that Erongo Region will be the biggest beneficiary of the programme, having been allocated about 5 000 houses to be built in the next two years.

Under the programme, about 486 informal settlements are set to be upgraded countrywide, while about 6 500 plots will be serviced during the same period.

News of winners of the housing tender comes after The Namibian reported this week that Afrikuumba Construction had won the tender to build houses in Windhoek and that they are looking for sub-constructors.

Afrikuumba Construction’s executive director Titus Nakuumba said they had gone into a joint venture with the South African companies because “we don’t have expertise to do the work in one go”.

Sources said NHE was filling the mass housing process with too many middlemen, for instance the NHE outsourced the work to Calgro M3 who gave it to Afrikuumba Construction who in turn outsourced the actual work to the constructors. This had the effect of increasing the cost of the houses.

Nakuumba, however, denied claims that he was a front for the South African companies, saying construction and actual labour makes up 80% of the tender, which they are set to outsource to the contractors.

Construction industry is claiming that the companies that received the tenders inflated prices ranging from N$5 000 to N$6 000 per square metre, which is above the current low cost housing of N$2 500 and N$3 000 per square metre. 

At least 26 companies have been contracted for the mass housing project, according to a document seen by The Namibian.

In Erongo Region, 7 Sirs Group is tasked to build 1 595 houses in Walvis Bay while 2 034 units will be built in Swakopmund by Power-Oyeno and 1 000 additional houses by Delta. NHE is also counting on the 262 houses that the parastatal is building in Swakopmund to form part of the mass housing project. Pro Housing Close Corporation will build 80 houses in Henties Bay.

In the Zambezi Region, 606 houses are earmarked to be built, with Madawa Investments setting up 327 houses at Katima Mulilo while Caprivi Building Contractors will build 279 at Bukalo.

Up to 559 houses will be built in Otjozondjupa Region. Kata Investment will construct 71 in Otjiwarongo, Anker Bay will build 351 houses at Otavi while Tribesmen will construct 137 houses at Grootfontein.

The 272 houses for the town of Okahao in Omusati Region will be built by Headhigh Investment while Flic Investment has been assigned to build 79 houses at Oshikuku.

Oshakati will be the sole beneficiary of the programme in Oshana Region after Stantol received the tender to build 400 houses there. Ferco was allocated 50 houses at Omuthiya in Oshikoto Region.

About 300 houses are planned for the Kunene Region, with Hadago Investment getting the tender to build 91 houses at Opuwo, Guinas Investment will construct 189 houses at Khorixas while Neto Contractors will build 20 units at Outjo.
In Nkurenkuru, the new main town of Kavango West, Hakahana Construction has been allocated 285 houses while GreenCycle will build 308 houses in Rundu in Kavango East.

About 500 houses will be built in //Karas Region with Oruhapo building 227 at Lüderitz. The same company will build 79 other houses in the region as part of the NHE project. Onjanja Construction received the tender for the 267 houses in Karasburg. 

In Hardap Region, 268 houses are planned for Mariental to be set up by Afrina Chinese while Rehoboth will get 62 houses by Homenet Properties.

China Jiangxi has won the tender to build 292 houses at Enhana in Ohangwena Region. 

Of the houses to be renovated countrywide, Namibian Home will upgrade 320 houses at Keetmanshoop  in //Karas, while Good Hope Construction will renovate 246 houses in Windhoek.

Hebei XinJian will upgrade 486 houses at Okahandja while Gobabis will have 175 houses upgraded. About 6500 plots are scheduled to be serviced within two years.

NHE spokesperson Eric Libongani declined to comment on the companies that received the tenders, alleged corruption in the selection of companies and the leaked names of companies, adding that they will make an official announcement soon. 

Phase one, whose start has already been delayed, is scheduled to run over two years, targeting 14 regional capitals at an estimated cost of N$2,7 billion for about 9 000 housing units and servicing of 10 200 plots.



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