Pricing re-evaluation of Govt houses

By Shallot Mohutege

GOVERNMENT has been forced to re-evaluate and come up with new affordable prices for sitting tenants in non-assigned government houses who qualify to buy them.

This comes after Member of Parliament Elma Dienda, questioned the Minister of Works and Transport John Mutorwa on when the ministry is looking into re-evaluating the pricing on government houses as they are currently way above the open market price of 2003.

According to Dienda, the price market of that year was between N$249 000 and N$254 000, however, in 2019 the ministry re-evaluated the same houses and determined the value to be between N$668 000 and N$722 000 which is not affordable for most sitting tenants.

The new evaluation specifically affects government employees residing in block 4843 which are dilapidated government flats in Windhoek’s CBD area.

“Indeed, a great injustice has been done to the tenants of block 4843. The other tenants who were residing in block 4842 and 4844 were afforded an opportunity to buy their properties at the Cabinet decision price,” she said.

Speaking to a few civil servants occupying block 4843, the tenants stressed that the current estimated value set at N$722 000 is unfair compared to the cost of other government houses which were sold at prices three times less.

According to the affected employees, who are mostly 50 years and above, they made their case heard through numerous written presentations to the Ministry of Works and Transport and met with the then Minister of Works and Transport Helmut Angula in June 2008.

While the employees do not dispute the logic of not selling the said houses for residential purposes, they feel that, just like their colleagues who benefited from the scheme, they also rightfully deserve the same consideration.

“The current offer is almost three times the amount offered to other government employees residing in the same houses, which were evaluated years ago. We would also like to get the same offer of buying the houses we are currently occupying at the 2003 market value and discounted prices,” said an aggrieved tenant.

Responding to the queries on revaluating government houses’ prices, Mutorwa said, Cabinet has resolved that some non-assigned government houses should be allocated to the sitting tenants under specific modalities, rules and regulations.

“The valuations for Windhoek, Okahandja and Rehoboth have been completed. Sitting tenants would receive their new offers late 2020. I am humbly requesting our tenants to be a little bit patient with us, while finalising their offers.

“The Alienation Scheme was expected to run for a period of three to five years which by implication means that not all houses will be alienated at the same time but rather be gradually sold off,” he said.

Although this government decision was largely appreciated by most employees, it appears to have disadvantaged some, in the sense that the houses they have been occupying were excluded from the Alienation Scheme as they were in business designated municipal areas, explained Mutorwa.

He went on to say that government reserves the right to exclude certain properties from the scheme.

Mutorwa added that different criteria were used to determine whether the houses will be sold or not.

“Houses that are located in prime business areas zoned for business and/or industrial development for example within the central business district (CBD) of a town or city will not be alienated,” he said.

He further emphasised that houses that are located on premises of existing functional government facilities such as hospitals, schools, military bases etc, will not be alienated.

According to the minister, houses that are located in prime business areas or on functional premises but having been identified by the line ministries, agencies or offices as assigned houses for use to accommodate foreign consultants or advisers and transferred staff members will also be excluded from the Alienation Scheme.