The Ministry of Works and Transport is considering moving the remaining 19 Zimbabwean engineers to Government flats in a bid to cut costs.
The engineers, whose contracts are only expiring in March 2019, were informed recently that Government was working on a plan to move them to Government premises after it struggled to settle rentals last year.
The Windhoek Observer has previously reported on how the ministry had asked the engineers to settle their own rental bills and be refunded later while others were served with notices to vacate their places of residency due to the non-payment of rent.
The Windhoek Observer is reliably informed that the situation got out of hand to the extent that one of the property owners at the place where some of the engineers where staying opted to cut water supply to force the engineers out.
The Zimbabwe engineers are in the country under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that was signed in 2012 between that country and Namibia. Under the MoU, Zimbabwe provided engineers to work on capital projects, while transferring skills to Namibians.
As part of the engineers’ contracts, the ministry is supposed to provide accommodation in a secure area for the duration of their stay in Namibia.
The engineers are accommodated in housing complexes dotted around the capital, mostly in Rocky Crest and Hochland Park.
Engineers living in Hochland Park pay about N$12,000 for a three-bedroomed apartment.
When contacted for comment, some of the engineers who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed Government’s plans to move them.
“We are just waiting to be told to pack our belongings and move where they tell us to move. At this point, we are not even sure where that is,” one of the engineers said.
According to the engineers, the owners of the property where they are staying gave them until the end of January to leave.
When contacted for comment, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport, Willem Goeiemann, said they decided to move the engineers in order to cut costs.
“We have been having problems. Last year, we struggled to pay rentals and landlords cut the tenants’ water. So, these are some of the reasons why we opted to relocate them,” he said.
Goeiemann added that there are some engineers who were already residing in Government owned flats.
Meanwhile, some of the 62 engineers whose contracts have already expired are busy preparing to go home while others have already left.
According to Goeiemann, the engineers have until end of January to leave the country.