The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) has apologised to occupants of its Workers’ Housing Estate at Elmina for the delay in rehabilitating a block which had developed deep cracks since 2013.
The delay, it said was not intentional, but due to the bureaucratic nature in the public service which demanded strict compliance to due process in awarding contract for the rehabilitation works.
This was in response to the GNA’s earlier publication of some concerns raised by the affected occupants of Block five of the Elmina Housing Estate last week, over the untold hardship and frustration they were going through in seeking alternative accommodation since they were asked to vacate the block for rehabilitation works to be carried out on it in 2013.
Speaking to the GNA on telephone, Mrs. Eva Amegashie, Head, Corporate Affairs of SSNIT, said the Trust commiserates with the affected individuals over the traumatic experience they had been subjected through all this while.
She indicated that SSNIT had referred the matter to the Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL) for advice, and was yet to hear from them.
She said currently, SSNIT was torn between two options to solve the issue; to pay the occupants off completely to buy new houses or reconstruct the whole block since the cost involved in rehabilitating it was quite huge.
Mrs. Amegashie stated that the Management of SSNIT would as soon as possible decide which better option to take after assessing the cost benefit analysis from the AESL, and had therefore appealed to the affected occupants to exercise restraint.
It would be recalled that the GNA broke the story on Monday, May 11, 2015 after some 12 disgruntled occupants of one of the blocks of SSNIT Housing Estate at Elmina, appealed to the Trust, to as a matter of urgency, return their rehabilitated flats to them to save them from the harrowing experiences they were going through in seeking alternative accommodation for the past two years.
In the said publication, a victim, who wanted to remain anonymous, told the GNA that she bought the flat outright from SSNIT in 1995 as an employee of a public institution.
However, the occupants, after some years, detected serious cracks all over the building, resulting in serious leakages any time it rained.
According to her, the Head of the SSNIT Flats Residents’ Association informed the officials of SSNIT about the issue and they responded quickly, after a meeting with the Residents’ Association.
She said on February 11, 2013, the affected occupants were served with quit notices for immediate rehabilitation works to be carried out on the building due to its deplorable state which posed a threat to life and property.
The source further alleged that a collective request agreed by the affected occupants for SSNIT to extend their stay and also assist them with financial support for alternative accommodation was turned down, and so they had to look for money to pay for rent advances themselves.
The affected occupants admonished the authorities of SSNIT that the six months’ notices given them by SSNIT in 2013 to fix the building had long elapsed, and calling on them to act quickly to save them from further agony as they had ran out of patience, and could no longer cope with the over two years wait for their flats to be rehabilitated.