Motion to stop sale of empty houses

A PDM councillor tabled a motion calling for the discontinuation of the envisioned sale of the Massive Urban Land Servicing Project in the absence of proper structures.

15 August 2021 | Infrastructure

Richard Hoaeb; Councillor; “We need to follow correct procedures to prevent any corruption…”

Walvis Bay • [email protected]

Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) councillor Richard Hoaeb who serves on the Walvis Bay municipal council, tabled a motion concerning the envisioned sale of Massive Urban Land Servicing Project (MULSP) houses.

Hoaeb said that if the proper structures are not in place, he won’t be able to support the sale of the houses currently standing empty.

"What were the terms of reference used on previous houses sold? What conditions of sale were used in terms of in-house laws? What was the original agreement between the council and ministry of rural and urban development, if any?”

He said that the municipality and the ministry agreed to build the MULSP houses, funded by the ministry and to be administered by the municipality.

“It was adopted at an extra ordinary council meeting (11 April 2017) with recommendations regarding the construction of the houses. I requested further resolutions or terms of reference on how these particular houses had been sold or are to be sold.”

According to Hoaeb, he was informed by the relevant administration that there is no council resolution on the issue by the previous council.

“In another letter addressed to Muronga Haingura by the permanent secretary of the ministry (25 April 2018) with the heading, ‘request for ministerial approval to use income from erven revolving fund, to pay building contractors’ there is no clear directive or indication of how the houses were to be sold. It is stated the money paid to contractors should be recouped from the proceeds arising from the sale of houses upon registration of such properties.”

Hoaeb stated that he was elected with the mandate that ethics and good governance is to be practiced, and to identify and promote principles of both staff and public life to counter corruption.

“It is our duty to right the wrongs without dwelling too much in the past but to learn from the past to better the future. We can do so not only through short-term solutions, but long-term objectives. We need to follow correct procedures to prevent any corruption as this housing project is already currently under investigation.”

Hoaeb recommended through the motion that the sale of the houses be put on hold until the proper structures to facilitate the process are in place.

“The municipality is currently operating under ‘sale and lease of land policy’, hence the sale of fully developed structures under the current policy is/was unlawful - there is no policy in place for sale of fully developed structure. Council in consultation with relevant departments and or stakeholders should draft and implement a ‘house sales and lease policy’.

Hoaeb also suggested that council reserves 20 of the 102 house available for staff to purchase through the credit control policy and procedure (section 7 and or 8) which can also be reviewed and amended to suit the current economic and governance structure.

He stated that municipal staff morale has been low, and has continued to be low since the new council stepped in.

“This is due to a number of reasons, but the most crucial is the lack of shelter. There are employees on lower bands that have been working for the municipality for years, some fast approaching retirement and they do not own any dwelling to call their own. How do we expect staff to execute the core values of the municipality if we as leaders turn a blind eye to their cries?”

The motion was tabled unopposed and referred to the management committee for further deliberation since it might rescind a previous decision made by council.

SWAPO councillor Ephraim Shozi suggested that since it is a government project, the line ministry should be consulted before a final decision is made.

Mayor Trevino Forbes gave the assurance that all relevant steps will be taken to ensure the correct decision is taken to the benefit of the community.