By Victor Angula /

In a statement released to the media yesterday, the Chief Regional Officer for Ohangwena Regional Council Mr Fillipus Shilongo has said that the Eenhana Constituency Office in Onambutu village, some 20 kilometres from Eenhana town, was built on ground that is “not stable”.

As a result, Shilongo said, the building fell apart and was abandoned seven years after it was built. And the building, built at a cost of N$1,456,059.98, is now only waiting to be demolished after its doors were closed seven years ago.

Shilongo’s statement comes in reaction to a video recording that circulated on social media recently showing how a government building became abandoned despite having cost a lot of money to build.

Without mentioning names of the contractors and engineers involved, Shilongo just stated that the Eenhana Constituency Office was constructed at Onambutu village in 2008 by a contractor “appointed by the Regional Council in terms of the Tender Board Act 1996, (Act No. 16 of 1996) under supervision of a Consulting team (Architect, Civil/Structural Engineer, Electrical Engineer and Quantity Surveyor) appointed by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development.”

The building was inaugurated on 24 August 2009.

However it started developing “patent and latent defects in 2010.

“The defects include structural cracks on the floors and walls, and ants/termites penetrating from the foundations causing serious damages to office furniture and other properties,” Shilongo explained.

“As a remedial measure,” Shilongo continued, “Council upon being notified by constituency officials immediately approached the Principal Consultant to come on site for investigation and also to compel the contractor to rectify defects as the infrastructure was still under the defect liability period. The contractor came on site to fix the cracks, repainted the building and also treated the termites with chemicals.”

However, in 2013 the structural defects on the building got worse, and big cracks were seen on floors and walls. Although the contractor was called again to repair the cracks, the contractor never came.

“The same cracks and several others were detected in the building floors and walls again in 2015, after which the consulting team re-visited the site,” Shilongo stated.

“The findings were that the ground condition on which the building structure is built was not stable thus there were foundation movements, causing the building shifting in the ground,” Shilongo said.

As the situation got worse and the building started collapsing, “at the beginning of 2016 the Council was advised by the consulting team to find an alternative office space for the Regional Councilor and support staff to avoid loss of life and property as the building was no longer structurally repairable,” Shilongo said.

As a result the Regional Councillor and all staff of the office moved to the Community Hall complex, some 300 metres away from their own collapsing building, where they are still working from until to date.

Meanwhile, veteran journalist and traditional archivist Mr Jesaya Dennis Hatutale disputed the assertion that the collapse of the building was caused by “ground condition” on which the office structure was built.

“Some of us know the poor workmanship of the company who got the tender,” Hatutale said.

In the photo: The abandoned Eenhana Constituency Office.