The Department of Housing in the City of Johannesburg wishes to set the record straight regarding an article published on IOL on Monday, 05 April 2021, as it feels facts were misrepresented.
The article claims that the government has spent R230 million at Dube, Diepkloof, Meadowlands and Mzimhlophe hostels and yet the units are currently empty and unoccupied.
This is not a true reflection on the ground as units across all hostels are currently being refurbished, while others have been fully completed.
In 2019, the City was tasked with the responsibility to manage the hostels by province. The City then rehabilitated the units across hostels in a phased approach. After doing so, a decision was taken to convert these units into RDPs after it was established that those who had applied for houses within the hostel and surrounding areas could not afford to pay rental.
We will allocate our residents into the units once the refurbishing and certification has been completed. Work is already in progress on the ground, and we urge the reporter to go on site to familiarise themselves with reality.
The units have been turned into decent and liveable spaces catering for whole families and are readily available for allocation. However, the Department of Housing is awaiting council resolution/due process for the City to be allowed to allocate them as RDPs instead of rental units.
Here are facts pertaining to the various hostels:
1. Diepkloof Hostel – 56 units were allocated and managed by Johannesburg Social Housing Company (Joshco) out of 216 units constructed, 155 units have been rehabilitated.
2. Mzimhlophe Hostel – units built were allocated and managed by Joshco, no challenges, however, there are new units under construction and will be dealt with similarity with Dube, Meadowlands and Diepkloof.
3. Dube hostel has 1416 units, about 196 units are under rehabilitation.
4. Meadowlands hostel has 228 units, the only works to be undertaken is sewer connection due to illegal connections in the area.
5. The balance of the hostels are being provided with services and upgrading plans are not yet finalized. There are works being undertaken at Helen Joseph Hostel in Alexandra and the construction of 144 units at Ext 52 to alleviate pressure and shortage of habitable houses for the residents of the Helen Joseph.
6. Madala Hostel also in Alexandra will be demolished once the units are completed at the sports field.
7. Incomplete units at Nobuhle Hostel in Alex will be completed through the Housing Development Agency appointed by the Gauteng Provincial Government.
By Councillor Mlungisi Mabaso
Mabaso is the Member of the Mayoral Committee for Housing in the City of Joburg