Land for housing project withdrawn
Agreement not signed
05 July 2021 | Government
Leroy Victor; Councillor; “…should the pilot PPP project in Walvis Bay still be a priority, other available land … will be identified for such purpose…”
The Walvis Bay council wants to rescind a pledge made by the previous council involving the development of four blocks in the Narraville area in exchange for a pilot as part of an affordable housing PPP project initiative by government.
Leroy Victor, chairperson of the management committee, said that in 2016, prior to the promulgation of the new Public Private Partnership Act (Act 4 of 2017) and following a cabinet resolution, council was approached by the ministries of finance and urban and rural development to avail land for a mass, low-cost housing pilot project driven by PPP principles.
Other local authorities identified to participate were Windhoek and Ondangwa.
Council resolved on 17 July 2018 that certain blocks in Narraville be availed/reserved for this purpose; some blocks were later renumbered as part of town planning procedures.
“The first step before embarking on a PPP, is a feasibility study. To this end, the ministry obtained a pledge/funds from the Development Bank of Namibia to conduct a study in the identified towns. Council was presented with a draft Project Preparation Facility Agreement (PPFA), which entailed funding to the tune of N$2.5 million to undertake all necessary project preparation work by a dedicated project team late in 2019.”
According to Victor, there was some uncertainty regarding the status of this agreement, and the involvement of the AG's office to authorise the contents was sought and obtained after some time.
“However, this agreement was never signed.”
Victor pointed out that during the course of 2020, no further progress was made other than backwards and forwards communications regarding the status of the PPF Agreement.
“In April 2020, we were reminded that the DBN financing offer would expire in September 2020. By the end of October 2020, the manager of housing and properties reminded that we have not received the final agreement to be signed.”
In a follow-up e-mail from the general manager RBC to the PPP unit at the ministry of finance in March 2021, it was enquired as to what the status was in view of the suspension of three involved council employees.
“The response from the PPP unit indicated that Walvis Bay missed the opportunity to partake in the project preparation stage and would need to re-apply for participation.”
Victor said that in view of the known shortage of developable land in and around Walvis Bay, and the need to fast track the development of these four blocks, it is advisable that the blocks be retained by council now and fast tracked for low-mid income housing.
“It was recommended that the delays experienced in the progress with regards to the pilot, low-cost housing PPP project on the new Narraville extensions resulting in the lapse of the DBN financing of a Project Preparation Facility be noted. Government will then be advised that, should the pilot PPP project in Walvis Bay remain a priority, other available land, including possibly Farm 37, be identified for such purpose and feasibility studies.”