Botswana Housing Corporation has to date delivered 142 houses, which are part of the first batch of houses the corporation has built under the self help housing agency (SHHA) scheme. In 2012, Government said that one of the functions of BHC as a single housing authority (SIHA) would be to provide affordable and adequate housing for all income categories. SIHA was established after numerous complaints by many Batswana over the past years, who were concerned with the high cost of BHC houses.
The upward trend resulted in some of them opting to purchase depreciating assets such as motor vehicles while others opted to purchase their houses from private firms which were considered cheaper than the subsidised BHC. However, this week, the corporation’s Public Relations Manager, Gomolemo Zimona, indicated that BHC has since started delivering on its SIHA mandate by undertaking a number of SHHA projects across the country.
Zimona said so far 142 houses have been built throughout the country including in the north east. He also revealed that as part of their drive to empower Batswana and local citizen contractors, the Corporation engaged local construction companies under different PPADB categories. Zimona said BHC was assigned to build 34 SHHA houses in the north east district and has since completed 30 houses whilst the remaining four are in progress and nearing completion. 20 of the completed 30 houses have since been handed over to the beneficiaries whilst the other eight completed houses will be handed over in the coming weeks. In the Letlhakeng subÔÇôdistrict, 19 houses are almost complete and will be handed over soon. Only one house is at roofing level while the other eight are at superstructure level.
In Nata and Gweta, 10 houses are almost complete while seven are at superstructure level. In Tlokweng, Zimona said five houses have been handed over while eight are 98 percent complete and four at superstructure level. At Borolong, 17 houses are at superstructure level and below due to withdrawal of contractors citing low labour rates. Zimona also explained that they faced challenges during the initial stage of the project when they were in the process of identifying plots to start construction.
“We realised that some beneficiaries could not be traced as they were supposedly deceased while some had sold their plots. This contributed to delays in proceeding with the projects as council authorities had to identify replacements through another lengthy process involving vetting of applicants for inclusion,” he said.
The other challenge, said Zimona, involved clearing of plots as is the requirement before construction could start. Some beneficiaries took time to clear their plots to make way for construction, which resulted in unnecessary delays. Water connection and provision of storage facilities at some plots also proved to be a challenge for some beneficiaries as it was required before construction could commence.
“In addition we will carry out assessment of some contractors that we engaged, with a view to extending our relationship in as far as these projects are concerned. We have also resolved to give these contractors the responsibility of providing materials to minimise delays in delivery of these projects. We are hopeful that going forward we will see a lot of improvements in delivery of these projects countrywide,” said Zimona.