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20 Aug 2020

Minister of Infrastructure and Housing Development Mr Mmusi Kgafela has applauded Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) for contributing to the development of Botswana through provision of housing. Minister Kgafela was speaking at an official launch of the BHC Palapye 107 Housing Development last Thursday at Extension 7 in Palapye.

Minister Kgafela said such developments were a testimony of the government’s commitment to the provision of decent accommodation despite the challenging economic situation the country was experiencing. He said that the demand for accommodation in Palapye continued to rise as the village grows and there is demand for housing products to accommodate more people. Kgafela further said that the strategic location of Palapye in the country made it one of the fastest-growing villages in Botswana.

“In this regard, people will continually converge in Palapye in large numbers in pursuit of employment and economic opportunities, and consequently creating a massive demand for housing in the area,” he said.

Minister Kgafela said government recognised housing or shelter as a basic human need and foundation of quality of life. He further  noted that lack of housing had the potential to impact on inclusion, quality of life and social ills. 

He said the government was committed to facilitating the provision of housing for all income groups, particularly the lower-income groups. He said since 2016, government through BHC had constructed 5 392 turnkey SHAA units across the country for beneficiaries who pay an interest-free loan of P90 000. 

He said during this time government had also assisted with 2 330 home improvement loans and 386 loans specifically for Civil Servants at scale D4 and below to improve their existing properties.  He indicated that to date 2 555 destitute houses have been built from 2009 to 2019.

He further said that since 2016 BHC has constructed 465 Public Officers Housing Initiative (POHI) houses which will augment housing stock for public officers.

Minister Kgafela said government was also in the process of revamping the Integrated Poverty and Housing Scheme (IPAHS) initiative to become responsive to challenges of the times.  “This is another programme targeting lower-income groups.  Government is on a drive to improve service delivery in order to improve lives of Batswana,” he said.

Minister Kgafela noted that housing development was a very important economic activity in that housing development played a direct role in the GDP growth by stimulating trade in input materials, labour and other downstream activities. 

When providing a brief on the development, CEO of BHC Mr Reginald Motswaiso said tenders to construct the 107 houses were awarded to local Grade E construction companies, which part of the Corporation efforts to empower locally owned businesses.

He said the project entailed the construction of 50 units at cost of P42 million by Ezra and Ezra Construction, 31 units by Good Engineering Pty LTD at P18 million and 26 units at a cost of P12.5 million. He explained that 106 jobs were created for locals especially in Palapye and surrounding villages. He noted 75 per cent people engaged in the projects were youth.

Motswaiso indicated that besides employment brought about for of the local community during the construction phase, there was knowledge and skills transfer to those engaged in the project which would form basis for future employment and future construction company ownership. 

Meanwhile, Member of Parliament for Palapye Honourable Onneetse Ramogapi commended the Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing Development and BHC for the housing development. He said that the houses gave the village a facelift and lifted the economic value of Palapye. Hon. Ramogapi urged the government to consider upgrading Palapye from a village to town looking at economic value, population and the rate at which developments are taking place in the village.

Kgosi Masego Olebile of Palapye also acknowledged BHC for constructing houses in Palapye. He noted that there was a shortage of accommodation in the village and such developments were welcome.

BHC has quite a number of housing developments in Palapye due the demand for such by various Government Departments, Companies and individuals alike. Last year the Corporation officially launch 99 housing developments not far away from the latest development.