Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) experienced teething problems at the start of the Self Help Housing Agency (SHHA) turnkey and district housing projects hence the backlog and delays encountered, a senior officer of the Department of Housing has said.
Principal Housing Officer Odirile Selolwane told Tonota-sub council that the turnkey project was previously coordinated by different councils, but in 2009, government resolved that all housing implementation programmes be transferred to BHC.“The reason for the change of SHAA turnkey and district housing project from councils to BHC was that the government wanted a single housing authority,” he said. As a result it took BHC some time to adjust to some of the changes, which in turn slowed down production. However he said BHC has mustered the challenges as evidenced by beneficiaries who are given houses and promised that soon BHC will be operating at full throttle.
“Inexperienced contractors were another challenge BHC encountered and as a result they ended up requesting to be assisted with experienced contractors, consequently their request was met,” he said. As a single housing authority, BHC was also handed over five district housing projects for public servants, which were at 80% completion by then in Tonota sub-district.
To date Selolwane said that the projects have still not been handed over to public servants as they are still to be tiled, fitted with doors and plumbed. “District housing long stood at 80% and this is the third year since their ground breaking. The contractor has been engaging less people and we have just recognised he had not been putting enough material for building. As we speak the project is behind by 57 weeks,” Selolwane explained.
The contractor’s lack of cooperation led to a meeting with him on February 5 where he was noticed his limited staff. DH then instructed him to have completed the project and handed it over in February 19 this year. “With the deadline passing without any response DH again contacted him on Febuary 28 informing him that his project was behind schedule. To date we are still waiting his response,” he said. In response Tonota South East Councillor, Gaefele Sedombo expressed concern that 24 houses where started in 2013 under SHAA scheme but that only 15 of those have been built. “Since BHC took over SHAA projects there have never been any tangible results. Back then council used to help a lot of people in a short space of time. Take for instance Palapye and Mahalapye you will find houses of BHC all over this reveals that the corporation is only producing results where they are rich people,” he said.
Borolong Councillor Fletcher Mothubane said 57 weeks behind schedule for district housing was a grave challenge. “How can we be behind with such weeks whilst public servants are running short of accommodation,” wondered Mothubane. Tonota Central councillor Christian Machokoto found it hard to believe that only five houses could take three years to be completed. “If five houses take three years and are yet to be completed then how many years will it take to finish the remaining nine of the 24 turnkey houses,” he asked adding that the council should think of something better. “Selolwane cannot answer any of our questions and the challenges behind such slow progress to SHAA and District Housing projects let BHC come here and answer together with Minister of Lands and Housing Prince Maele,” said Machokoto.