Mamelodi hostel residents are tired of waiting for housing

Mamelodi hostel community leader Aspen Makung pointing out the incomplete build shack houses left in the middle of hostel without roof, running water, window and door frames to ease congestion at hostel in an effort to fight the spread of Covid 19.

Mamelodi hostel residents are angry at temporary incompletely-built shack houses made of corrugated iron. They are being left without a roof, running water or electricity in the middle of the hostel block.

The construction of the temporary residential units (TRU) were meant to ease congestion at Mamelodi Hostel. It was part of the government’s plan to fight the spread of COVID-19 in 2020. This was through the reduction of overcrowding of the around 10 000 residents by accommodating an average of 20 people per room. This is thanks to a whooping R64 million project to constrict 1000 units.

It’s now been about a year since Mamelodi hostel residents were promised temporary housing units. The hostel dwellers’ living conditions are still the same despite the government’s promises.

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During The Daily Vox’s visit to the area, incomplete structures made of corrugated iron were left without a roof, running water and electricity. The building material is starting to rust and the wooden floor gets flooded when it rains. The floors were also badly damaged by rain water.The unfinished temporary houses are without window and door frames and they were not partitioned and painted. 

Tshwane MMC for housing and human settlement, Mpho Mehlape-Zimu confirmed that more than R35 million had been spent on the construction of 455 housing units. Mehlape-Zimu, said “In fact, R37 712 346.99 had been spent so far working out to R83 066.84 per unit to date.” 

According to angry residents they’ve lost hope and interest in voting. The residents have asked themselves why they would continue to vote for people who are failing them. “Why would they vote for people who only remember them during elections? Why would they vote for people who don’t care about them and run away after getting their votes?” 

Their leader Aspen Makung is calling for an investigation into the project. He wants those involved in this to be held accountable for the money spent on the housing units. Makung said “Some construction workers are left without getting their salaries.” A security company has been appointed to guard the material so that it doesn’t get stolen.

Mehlape-Zumu said the scope of the project had been reduced from 1000 to 633. The MMC said to date only 454 units have been completed. However they have missed countless deadlines of the project that was approved in May 2020. The initial deadline was July 2020.

The deadline delays to develop Mamelodi hostel include community disruption, unsatisfactory work performance by contractor and strikes. The hostel construction had still not been completed and not a single hostel dweller had moved inside temporary houses. 

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The city of Tshwane had appointed the Housing Development Agency (HDA) as the implementing agent for the construction of temporary residential units. This is according to human settlement spokesperson Mandulo Maphumulo. 

Housing Development Agency (HDA) spokesperson Tshepo Nkosi said “The delays were as a result of community disruptions, labour strikes, work stoppages and unsatisfactory contractor performance.” Nkosi said “All in all on average 595 foundations and 494 wall plates had been installed, while 471 had been roofed and 232 units had been completed.”

The Mamelodi hostels were built in the early 1960’s to predominantly house men from other provinces. It was meant for men working in Pretoria to be accommodated not far from their workplace. Since the dawn of democracy, women and children have moved in to occupy the hostel as family units.

Featured image by Thomo Nkgadima