Sabelo Langa has been an inmate of Jabulani Hostel since he arrived in Joburg in 1966, sharing a block, the kitchen and communal showers and toilet with six roommates under unsanitary conditions.
Today, the 71-year old Langa, who is originally from Nqutu, is a proud owner of a two bedroomed apartment with his own bathroom, a living room and a kitchen. Langa is one of the five beneficiaries who were handed keys to their new apartments by Joburg Executive Mayor Mpho Parks Tau and MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Human Settlement Ntombi Mekgwe at the Mayoral Imbizo at the Jabulani Hostel on the 11 February 2014.
Langa could not hide his excitement. “Ngizolala kwami namhlanje nomndeni wami ngijabule kakhulu,” (I am going to sleep in my own house today with my family. I’m over the moon) he shouted.
In total 1395 newly built units have been allocated to hostel residents across Soweto.
Thousands of Soweto residents and hostel inmates braved the cold weather and rain to witness the handover.
"Hostel" - in South Africa, the word conjures up images of an ugly, menacing building, masculine aggression and tribal hostility. Train-like rows of grey, drab structures, hostels were built to accommodate male migrant workers who came to the city to provide manual labour for the burgeoning mining and manufacturing industries in the last century.
But this day started with the demolition of an old block of the Jabulani Hostel – a relic of the past - to make way for more units to be built.
Other beneficiaries will be renting apartments at R750 for a two bedroom unit with lounge and an open-plan kitchen.
Another beneficiary of RDP apartments was Lindiwe Ndaba, a teenager who heads up a household.
“I am very excited to now have a place I call home. I can’t express how grateful I am to the municipality for giving me and my siblings this house. I can’t wait to see their joy when they come back from school to our new home,” said the joyful Ndaba.
Members of the community ululated, whistled and cheered as the Mayor and MEC cut the ribbon and gave the young Ndaba the keys to her apartment.
The developer of the project, Calgro m3 also donated furniture to the five beneficiaries that were treated as special cases for RDP houses.
The Executive Mayor praised the Izinduna (Headmen) for playing a constructive role in the process of removing people from the old units to the new ones. He said they would continue to work with the ward councilors to identify the needy families that should be prioritized in the allocation of houses. Mayor Tau said the Izinduna know the background of people from their villages. This makes it easy for the city not to give a house to someone who might have already benefited from a similar project in their respective homes.
“I also lived in a hostel for a year in 1986, so I know the conditions our people live in,” said the Mayor.
The Mayor announced that every Tuesday until 2016, the Mayoral Committee will continue to engage communities in more platforms and through Imbizos. Visit web page for more.
Mayoral Imbizo makes a stop in Diepsloot