Mayor hands over converted Jabulani Hostel units
My daughter has a place she can call home at last,” exclaimed Thembalethu Mtshali, a hostel resident whose life changed dramatically on Thursday July 14 after Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Parks Tau handed her the keys to a modern two-bedroomed apartment.
As a single-sex hostel resident, Mtshali used to share a dormitory with other women, with no room for privacy.
“I have no words to describe how I feel but I’m very happy to have received these keys to my new house,” said 28-year-old Mtshali.
“My prayers have been answered after years of uncertainty and anxiety.”
Since the end of apartheid, which brought with it the migrant labour system and single-sex hostels, the City of Johannesburg and the Gauteng Provincial Government have embarked on a multimillion-rand Hostel Redevelopment and Upgrading Programme to convert the compounds into liveable family units. About 45 units at Jabulani Hostel have already been converted by Matlong Consulting. According to Development Manager Motsamai Mofokeng, 620 units of three- to four-storey buildings will be converted by the end of March 2017 at a cost of R240-million.
The redevelopment is a clean break with the dehumanising conditions under which migrant workers lived.
Mayor Tau said the new developments were aimed at creating integrated communities and promoting social cohesion and nation building. The Mayor was accompanied by three Members of the Mayoral Committee – Cllrs Dan Bovu (Housing), Ruby Mathang (Economic Development) and Chris Vondo (Community Development). Mayor Tau told Jabulani Hostel residents and indunas that the City was committed to improving the quality of life of people living in hostels.
He said political differences should not delay service delivery and hostels should not be left as they were under apartheid. He said the conversion of hostels followed pleas by their residents that they, too, needed to be allocated RDP houses.
“This is just the beginning; there’s more still to come. It’s important to continue converting the hostels because we want to do away with them completely. We want to integrate the people living in hostels with the people living in the townships,” the Mayor said.
Bonginkosi Dlamini, an IFP member in the Gauteng Legislature, concurred with the Mayor, saying the integration of hostels and townships should be speeded up so everyone could receive the same benefits.