Empty houses and erven to be sold
08 August 2021 | Infrastructure
Anita Kaihiva; Walvis Bay municipality; “The time frame is to be determined soon…”
The Walvis Bay council approved to sell “as is” council's available improved erven under the Massive Urban Land Servicing Project (MULSP) in Kuisebmond and Narraville by way of public bidding.
According to the council agenda, 15 of the 102 unallocated houses have defects and are not ready for occupation. They will be sold “voetstoots”.
“Valuations for accommodating defects must be made before the final sale process is determined. It was further recommended that the municipal valuator, Messrs. Trust and Estate Company, be instructed to do a final valuation of all improvements on all these erven to determine defects and shortcomings, and that once this is received, a submission be made with regards to upset prices for the improvements as well as to finalize conditions of sale,” the agenda states.
Upon enquiry by Erongo 24/7, Anita Kaihiva, Walvis Bay municipal communications officer, said the valuation process had started.
“The time frame is to be determined soon. The delay was due to the fact that the valuator had to isolate in terms of Covid-19 procedures.”
Kaihiva said that the intention is to consider first time buyers during the selling process.
“However, the sales conditions are to be set once the valuation is done and the properties are advertised.”
The empty houses have been a bone of contention for local residents, with some threatening to occupy the houses and also demanding answers from council on the way forward.
“Council engaged the ministry of urban and rural development on several occasions, seeing that it was a joint project. However, feedback in this regard took a little longer than expected. It is not considered to be a delay though, as there was no time frame set for council to decide to sell the houses ‘voetstoots’.”
Kahiva said that council has a few erven available to sell, i.e. those that were not sold during the May public bidding and non-residential erven anticipated for 6 August 2021 as advertised.
“It will only be MULSP houses to be offered for sale,” she emphasised.
The council agenda for July shows that in a letter dated 17 February 2017, the executive director of the ministry was informed of council’s concern about quality control pertaining to the houses, yet no response was forthcoming.
“Several new house owners reported defects to their homes. Unfortunately these defects were identified after the defect’s liability period had lapsed and retention monies, contractually retained from contractors for such repairs, were procedurally paid out to the respective contractors.”
This made it impossible to hold the contractors liable for the repairs.
In another letter to the executive director of the ministry dated 25 April 2019, it was proposed that the cost of repairs be defrayed from the proceeds from the sale of land. This request also did not receive a response.
Recommendations made include that the council should take note of the defects to some of the houses built under the MULSP program.
“No response was forthcoming from the ministry on the letters addressed to its executive director on two different occasions. It was also recommended that the requests for the Walvis Bay municipality to have the defect repaired, not be entertained as the properties were sold ‘voetstoots’ and that the homeowners be referred to a clause in their sale agreement that provides that the seller shall not be reliable for any defects on the property whether latent or patent.”
In the meantime, residents in the harbour town are anxiously waiting on the audit report done in relation to the MULSP.
A number of high ranking municipal officials are still on suspension pending an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC). They are municipal chief executive Muronga Haingura, general manager of community and economic development Augistino Victor, manager for property and housing Jack Manale, and property clerk Constance Summers.
The suspension came after the ACC raided the offices of the four officials and seized equipment including laptops, desktops and cellphones on 9 December 2020.
The ACC is investigating allegations of corruption in relation to the alleged lack of transparency and unaccounted funds believed to belong to the MULSP.
This investigation stems after N$24 million apparently went “missing” from the project.