Work resumes on DRC Mass Housing

Construction and repair work has resumed in Swakopmund on the nearly 2,400 houses that were being built in the DRC settlement, under the Mass Housing initiative, which have been standing vacant for years, after Government halted the proceedings.
The bulk of the houses in Swakopmund were built on land with no services or electricity connections, rendering them inhabitable. 
Building had ground to a halt for over two years, with finished and semi-complete houses standing empty to face the elements and vandals, leading to extra repair costs.
However, work on completing and fixing the houses resumed late last year.
One of the 15 subcontractors currently working on the houses told the Windhoek Observer that they are moving ahead at a fast pace to complete as many houses as possible.
Erongo Red is also forging ahead with the installation of prepaid electricity meters, while finishing touches such as the paintwork, fittings, tiling and so on, are making head way.
The Power Oyeno Group is the main contractor for the Mass Housing project in Swakopmund which experienced some administrative set-backs.
Meanwhile, the sprawling DRC informal settlement will soon be upgraded to township status, with demarcated erven, town planning, electricity and proper municipal services in place.
The vision is to reduce the shack dwellings and uplift the living standards of the people.
Contractors laying the civil works are also busy with an open area covering 120 hectares of land, adjacent to the DRC shack dwellers, which has been earmarked for additional development of affordable houses in the future.
The Windhoek Observer understands that the Swakopmund municipality has given the go-ahead for a further registration process for residents in the coastal town that are in need of housing, despite the fact that the Master Waiting List already contains around 9,000 hopefuls.
The Community Development Services Department was given the green light by council last week to proceed with an additional registration process for unregistered residents that are in need of housing, while also putting in place certain criteria for affordable housing applicants. 
Applicants registering for housing through the municipality need to be Namibian citizens who are not beneficiaries of a Government housing subsidy or married to someone who is.
Community Development Housing Officer, Michelle Palmer, said this week that they will start the registration, once a more efficient application process has been implemented.
This includes introducing a new computerised system, to replace the previous manual process, which should be up and running after the current financial year has ended.
The exercise will give the municipality a better understanding of the housing needs in Swakopmund, as the department is answering daily requests from residents, who also wish to apply for housing.
The municipality is also reacting to a request from Urban and Rural Development Minister, Sophia Shaningwa, who during a Mass Housing handover last year, emphasised the need to create a database of potential housing clients.
The initial registration process to record all landless residents in Swakopmund began during 2013.