Mass houses demolished
43 Houses constructed under the Mass Housing Development Program north of Swakopmund are currently being demolished and will be replaced with brick structures. The houses were constructed by the Delta Group using prefabricated material, but were found to be of inferior quality.
The demolishing work is currently being conducted by a contractor called Afrina, who was tasked by government to construct 100 new houses. This was confirmed by a businessman, who called himself Charles, who is in charge of the company Afrina.
“Government told me last year to build new houses. We will build over 100 houses,” he said to namib times. Charles added that the current structures are of poor quality, which is why they are being demolished. “I am busy with the site plan and will build new houses now,” he said. Charles was not aware of issues relating to the previous contractor Delta Group though.
Gawie Rousseau, one of Delta Group’s partners, was not available for comment. His phone went unanswered. Delta Group initially got the tender to construct 400 houses under the Mass Housing Development Program, but ran into financial trouble in 2016. The amount of houses to be constructed by the Delta Group were reduced to 43, some of which were still in construction phase when Afrina took over.
Construction of the houses by the Delta Group was halted in November 2016 due to the company not being able to pay its workers (namib times reported). The workers initially threatened to burn down the houses, if they would not receive their salaries. During tense negotiations on site the workers “confiscated” the car of the managing director Koos Gouws and kept it as surety.
Instead of utilizing bricks, the houses by the Delta Group were built using an alternative material combining cement with Styrofoam. These houses were found to be “humanely uninhabitable” though. Despite numerous efforts to get a comment from the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development, these remained unfruitful.
When namib times visited the site the workers carrying out the demolishing work said that they are employed by a company called Xu Construction, but referred all queries to Charles from Afrina. They said that they are taking down everything, leaving the foundation of the previous houses. “We are waiting for the material to arrive, so we can build the new houses,” said one worker.