Thursday 17 June 2021
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CalgroKuumba gets housing tender again

Despite a row between government and CalgroKuumba over the installation of basic services such as water and electricity at 362 unoccupied houses and apartments in Windhoek, the company has been awarded another tender to construct 3800 houses in Otjomuise extension 10.
CalgroKuumba completed the 362 houses at the cost of N$350 million at Otjomuise extention 10 in 2016 and they have to date not been handed over to the beneficiaries, because of the dispute.
According to Uazuva Kaumbi of CalgroKuumba, his company has started building the first phase of 3800 houses at Otjomuise extension 10, now through public-private partnership with the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.
He said the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development needs to authorise the variation order to the building contract as CalgroKuumba is not responsible for the services.
This has allegedly made it difficult for CalgroKuumba to finish the project. “Unfortunately this has dragged on for very long now. The matter is before court as we speak,” he said. He added that CalgroKuumba has sub-contracted China Jiangxi to construct the first 142 of the 3800 houses which commenced on 01 March.
Kaumbi said the first batch of completed houses will be handed over to the beneficiaries before December this year and that will continue unchanged for the next five years.
He further said that the company signed the agreement to construct the houses in 2016 but could only start with the construction of the 3800 this year because it first needed to finish the 362 mass housing units.
“We needed to re-design the layouts to accommodate the densification; the approvals are done by Namibia Planning Advisory Board, townships board and the surveyor general, and these processes take time,” Kaumbi said.
CalgroKuumba which is owned by businessman Titus Nakuumba and his South African partners Calgro, dragged government to High Court over the dispute as to who should install water and electricity.
Commenting on the matter, Nghidinua Daniel, Executive Director in the housing ministry, said that the dispute is only about the 362 houses built under the mass housing project but does not include the houses being built through PPP.
This is despite the houses being on the same block.
He stated that the PPP agreement is not new as it was signed by National Housing Enterprises (NHE) which had the custodianship of the mass housing before 2016, but not by his ministry.
He added that when government took over the supervisory aspect of the construction of the mass housing in 2016, the government had the obligation to honour all the contractual agreements signed between NHE and CalgroKuumba. “Government is not paying any cent where CalgroKuumba is building houses under the PPP and whatever they are doing there they are doing it on their own cost,” he said.
CalgroKuumba held a meeting with former urban development minister Sophia Shaningwa and Daniel on 08 February 2016 where an agreement was signed that the construction of the 362 houses was supposed to have been done within a year.
According to the company, the contract to build the disputed houses had to be reviewed to include services such as sewerage, electricity and water connections.
This was supposed to be done through a variation order, a process of amending a construction agreement.
The lack of action from the government and its representative resulted in CalgroKuumba suffering financial losses, the company said in its court papers.
The company is asking the court to compel the government to pay it around N$12 million, including 20 percent interest per year.
CalgroKuumba was initially awarded a tender to build 1 191 houses at Otjomuise, which number was later reduced to 362.
Government pumped N$2,9 billion into the mass housing scheme national wide. However, the project was used by tenderprenuers as cash-cows and this triggered government to strip the programme from NHE after an array of tender irregularities and poor project management surfaced.
When the programme was re-implemented, government promised that it will be done in a more coherent and cost-effective way.
During the awarding phase, NHE was confident that it had robust systems and processes in place to ensure that actual, potential and perceived conflicts of interest of all its directors and employees are managed effectively. Doubts have since been cast in that regard.
By June 2015, government released shocking statistics indicating that it had spent N$2,723 918 354 to construct 1468 houses.
This translates into a construction cost of over N$1.8 million per house.

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