Friday, September 25, 2020

Government workers homeless as housing scheme flounders

Hundreds of government officers, who were planning to move into pool houses in the 2006/2007 financial year, found themselves homeless following failures in government plans to hive off the District Housing Scheme to the Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC).

The decision to hive off the District Housing Project to BHC, which, according to Lands and Housing Minister Ndelu Seretse, is a ?major policy change? which is suffering set backs, aggravating the backlog on district housing.

Following queries from Ghanzi South MP, Brampie De Graaf, the minister conceded in Parliament on Friday that ?judging by performance of some councils, indeed some councils would have done better this current year.?

De Graaf had challenged the minister to concede that the hiving off of the construction of District Housing to BHC was premature. He further challenged the minister to admit that ?in the current financial year, councils would in fact have done better.?

Seretse acknowledged that ?the decision to engage Botswana Housing Corporation is a major policy change and it needed consultation with the concerned stakeholders. However, my ministry indicated in correspondence to Councils in June 2006 that the notice was rather short, but owing to the fact that the project had to be implemented this financial year, we had to adjust in order not to delay progress. This correspondence was not well received by councils for various reasons, inadequate consultation being one of them. They, therefore, withheld the required information such as layout plans that BHC needed to kick start the project. Only four councils provided adequate information after many follow ups.?

Seretse said as a result, ?not much has been achieved this year. However, BHC has already advertised for the construction of 65 housing units at Kgatleng, Southern, South East and Kweneng. The tenders are being evaluated. Additional information has since been obtained from Ghanzi, Maun, North East and Central (Tonota in particular) which will enable BHC to advertise same.?

Seretse said it was ?regrettable that the problems encountered have resulted in loss of time and hence aggravating the backlog on district housing.?

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