Windhoek District Hospital at site clearing stage

Ester Mbathera

The new 500-bed Windhoek District Hospital project is currently at the site clearance stage.

This was said by Ben Nangombe, the executive director of the Ministry of Health and Social Services, on Wednesday.

Nangombe was responding to questions on which entity received the tender for the construction of the hospital after the ministry held a groundbreaking ceremony last week without handing over the contractor on site.

“The tender for construction will be advertised later. Currently, the project is at the stage of site clearance, to be followed by the installation of bulk services,” he said.

Many people took to social media, questioning why the ministry held the event.

Some described the event as a mere election campaign gimmick by the Swapo leaders.

“Ground-breaking ceremony with no construction company onsite. This was the first project of the government to be commissioned, with no detailed design, no bill of quantity, no proper budget, and no time frame for its completion or work. The same scenario applies to Otjiwarongo District Hospital as well. This was a clear political gimmick to lie to the electorate at the periphery of the City of Windhoek. Swapo has been playing these tricks for years, and people have realised that enough is enough,” said Vetaruhe Kandorozu.

“A whole Vice President of the country, who is also illegitimately a presidential candidate for SWAPO, did the official groundbreaking. SWAPO has no moral fibre. There’s nothing left, guys. How can we vote for a thief that goes around breaking grounds for projects that are not even tendered or budgeted for?” said Michael Mwashindange.

The ministry estimated the project’s cost to be N$2.9 billion, whereas the 2024/2025-2026/2027 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) rolling budget only allocated N$170 million from internal resources, with no funds available from external sources.

Talks for the construction of an additional public hospital have been on the cards for years as the government has been trying to alleviate the burden placed on the Katutura referral hospital and the Windhoek Central hospital.

In 2013, the health ministry announced plans to build an 800-bed hospital in Windhoek.

That project could not take off because no land was available at the time.

In 2015, the ministry announced that it had secured land between the Khomasdal and Otjomuise suburbs for the construction of a 250-bed hospital.

At the time, the ministry had set a budget of N$7 million for its initial stages of construction.

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