Road contractor UNIK may now accommodate road building workers at construction site

The Swakopmund town council has decided to rescind an earlier decision it took to deny UNIK Construction Engineering Namibia the right to house workers at its construction camp. UNIK is a partly-Chinese road construction consortium, constructing the new dual carriage way east of the dune belt between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. Its construction camp is located close to the Swakop river.
The decision was taken at the recent council meeting. Council thereby decided to repeal its decision passed in May when it was explicitly decided not to allow staff members to reside at any construction camps.
At the same meeting in May, council gave UNIK 30 days to remove its employees from the camp.
The issue surrounding staff members residing at construction sites started in June 2016, when council decided to lease a portion to UNIK for the sole purpose to erect a construction camp. Back then council decided that no staff may be living on site.
Shortly thereafter it was indeed estalished there were staff residing onsite, which prompted council to pass a decision in May to have these persons evicted.
According to the agenda of the recent meeting, it is evident that from the onset that the prefabricated buildings erected at the UNIK construction camp is not only workshops, but also accommodation units. It turned out the accommodation units were in fact non-compliant with the original understanding with council.
Council now decided to allow staff to be accommodated on site, but subject to certain conditions.
In the agenda, there are a number of arguments in favor of this decision, amongst others the fact that “the project is of national interest and supportive of industrial/business development in not only the Erongo Region, but the whole of Namibia.”
Another argument to consider was that “no practical alternative site” is available, as the Dorob National Park borders the Swakop River/-townlands.
In the agenda, it is also evident that not only the contractor UNIK slipped up by putting up accommodation quarters.
The Roads Authority, a consortium stakeholder also “neglected to obtain permission for the establishment of the site prior to commencement of construction.”
Furthermore, it was established in the meantime that “the construction site and the use thereof is in conflict with the requirements of the Standard Building Requirements”.

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