For 38 years, Selina Mashele was separated from her husband Shadrack Mashele who was a migrant worker in Joburg, staying at Orlando Ekhaya Hostel.
Even after arriving in the city of gold from Tzaneen ten years back, Mama Mashele could not stay with her husband in the male only hostel and had to rent a backyard shack in Orlando West, with one of her three daughters.
But now, following the redevelopment of the Orlando Ekhaya Hostel, members of the family have moved in together for the first time in decades.
Like other families renting the 102 units in the initial stage of the hostel redevelopment, the Masheles now stay in a homely, two bedroom apartment that has an inside bathroom, a living room and a kitchen.
Mama Mashele could not hide her excitement and gratitude when City officials paid her a visit. “Ndzi tsakile ndzita tshama na ndyangu wa mina,” (I am happy I will live with my family) she said.
City officials were at the hostel to witness the handover of 112 new units to Joshco, marking the completion of the third phase of the construction.
“It is no co-incidence that today we have reached another milestone. Today we handed over 112 units of 290 apartments in total to the residents of the City. On the other hand on the 24th of March 2014 we will be celebrating ten years of the existence of Joscho,” added Gallocher.
In the 1940s, the hostel was used as a half -way house to rehabilitate prisoners on parole before they could go to their families.
According to Gallocher, the refurbishment of the hostel block into 76 units has been slightly delayed because of processes that have to be followed in developing National Heritage Site. Section 34 of the National Heritage Resources Act prohibits the demolition of “any structure or part of a structure which is older than 60 years without a permit from Provincial Heritage Resources Agency”.
Following the handover, Executive Mayor, Mpho Parks Tau and Members of the Mayoral Committee addressed about 1500 community members gathered at Pimville Hall as part of the ongoing community outreach Imbizos. The gatherings give community members an opportunity to give the mayor feedback and to raise concerns they may have.
“I was in a meeting with the President of the republic of South Africa, talking about development, and the president said ‘when we talk about development in our black dominated communities, go to Soweto.’ And he is right, there is no township that is developed like Soweto in the whole of Africa,” said the Mayor.
The Mayor urged communities to participate and take ownership of the development, stating that once the house has been handed over to an individual, that person owns the house and it’s his/her responsibility to maintain it. Among the issue that the community raised was corruption that delays development. In response, the Mayor urged community members to report corruption through the Anti-Fraud Hotline (0800 002 587).
He also announced that the City would have its own Public Protector in the near future. The mayor undertook to announce the name of the Public Protector for the City of Johannesburg in the next two weeks.