Note to editors: The following remarks were made today by the DA’s Shadow Minister of Human Settlements, Makashule Gana MP, following an oversight tour of Soweto’s hostels.
The Minister of Human Settlements, Lindiwe Sisulu, owes the residents of Soweto’s hostels an explanation as to why her department has continually failed to upgrade living conditions in these facilities. Residents in Soweto are fed up with the government and it is for this reason that they so often take to the streets in protest.
I visited 5 hostels in Soweto today to investigate the appalling conditions that residents are living in and the conditions of the unoccupied hostels.
What I witnessed contradicts Minister Sisulu’s reply this week to a DA parliamentary question where she stated that the Department has embarked on a total of 45 hostel upgrading projects in six provinces since 1 January 2009. Too many hostels remain unoccupied whilst there are scores of qualifying residents who can reside in them.
At Dube hostel, residents told me of the plight face on a daily basis – toilets and washing basins are broken and parts are stripped. Residents at the various hostels showed me some of the walls that are crumbling and plasterwork that is falling off. Windows are broken and electricity is disconnected. Toilet facilities are few in number and there is litter everywhere.
I also visited the hostels in Jabulani, Mzimhlope, Difateng, Mapetla, , Meadowlands and Nancefield, what I discovered was shocking:
In Dube residents fear for their lives daily. “Crime has increased over the last few years”, I was told. There are also empty clusters of double-storey units that are severely damaged
Mzimhlophe’s hostels are a dilapidated unoccupied slum, due to shoddy workmanship by contractors. This will require millions of rands to restore these buildings and residents have to now wait longer for placement in these units and
Jabulani has recently been upgraded, however due to protests by residents to fill the open single-sex dormitory units good work has been harshly damaged.
It is unfair that people have to live in squalor while Minister Sisulu remains out of touch with the real conditions on the ground.
Soweto’s hostel residents need answers and the DA will therefore be submitting a series of parliamentary questions pertaining to the conditions, funding and occupancy at these specific hostels.
I will also be writing to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements, Nocawe Mafu, to request that she summon Minister Sisulu to account for the desperate situation in Soweto.
My colleague, DA Shadow MMC for Housing in the City of Johannesburg, Cllr Sipho Ndlela will focus his attention over the coming months on working with residents to keep the full state of affairs at Soweto’s hostels on government’s agenda.
Deputy Federal Chairperson of the Democratic Alliance | Shadow Minister of Human Settlements
Source : Democratic Alliance