News Column

Kata Investments Almost Done Building

June 20, 2014

Ndanki Kahiurika



KATA Investments CC, which is co-owned by President Hifikepunye Pohamba's daughter, Kaupumhote, has almost finished constructing the 71 houses assigned to them in Otjiwarongo.

The Namibian yesterday visited both sites in Otjiwarongo where construction is taking place and most of the houses are at roof level.

The company, a joint venture between Pohamba and Taschiona !Gawaxab, is being represented on the ground by project managers Kenneth Kalipi and Shaun Solomon. Taschiona is daughter to Old Mutual Africa business managing director, Johannes !Gawaxab.

The company was awarded a N$16,4 million National Housing Enterprise (NHE) tender to build the houses in Otjiwarongo's Orwetoveni suburb and it sub-contracted six other companies for the job.

The contract stipulates that Kata Investments builds 52 core and 19 conventional houses in Orwetoveni and Saamstaan extension 11 locations.

Kalipi said they were supposed to have started work in November last year, but were delayed by whether conditions.

"Our deadline has been shifted from August 2014 to October since," he said.

One site contractor, Russell Baumann, said the houses were mostly conventional for people who can afford them.

"They are not only spacious but also have en-suite bedrooms unlike the core houses," he explained. Despite the speedy construction of the 71 houses, the project has not been plain sailing as contractors are complaining about the money they were paid.

Heita Sakaria from the Ehonga Construction, whose company built 10 houses, said he only received N$3 000 last month and used the money to pay 30 people.

"We were paid well since January but the money has been decreasing since. We used to get about N$30 000, which meant more people could be employed and get a good salary," he said.

Sakaria also said he had a large number of people working for him when they started in January. "They just told us that we are not needed here anymore and now we have to go back, but it's the middle of the month. We need money. My people are not locals," said Sakaria.

Another subcontractor, Iipinge Epaphras of the Onkambadhara Trading Enterprises said they have also not received what is due to them."We built 15 houses. Last month, we only got N$19 000. It is not enough, plus they have been deducting about N$8 000 just for retention. A total of N$6 000 has been deducted each month for a mixer which we are not allowed to keep, " said Epaphras.

Kalipi, however, said the workers were being paid well every month.

"The contractors did not even come with their own tools. We had to buy them a mixer, which costs N$18 000," he said, adding that the workers may have decreased because of the little amount of work left.

"They mostly did the brick work, for which we paid them even up to N$40 000 per month," said Kalipi.He said the number of women on the sites depended on the subcontractors.

Gawaxab could not be reached for comment as her phone was off, but NHE spokesperson Eric Libongani, said there is nothing new with the story although this is the first time progress on the project has been reported.


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Source: AllAfrica


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