Hostel residents threaten sit-in

2018-02-01 06:01
Masiphakame Housing Project chairperson Zekulunge Mantshontsho pointed to the ceiling made with a sack.PHOTO: unathi obose

Masiphakame Housing Project chairperson Zekulunge Mantshontsho pointed to the ceiling made with a sack.PHOTO: unathi obose

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Members of Nyanga housing projects are threatening to march to the City of Cape Town to demand the rehabilitation of their hostels.

They said they want the City to speed up the process before the winter rains start.

At a special meeting held at Hlazo Community Hall in Newlands last Friday, members of both Masiphakame and Household Housing Project in Ward 39, said they are prepared to sleep in the Mayor’s office if their grievances are not met.

Zekulunge Mantshontsho said: “Our hostels are old and some of them leak when it’s raining. We need the City to make a plan and renovate them. We tried to talk to City officials regarding our living conditions. We wanted them to take action but nothing has happened,”.

Mantshontsho is the Chairperson of Masiphakame Housing Project.

He also said they had informed their Ward Councillor Khaya Yozi about their plight, but nothing has come of it.

“We went to Khaya on numerous occasions to urge him to assist us. And we even sent him a letter, calling for a meeting with him regarding the hostel’s renovation. Our request fell flat.

“You’ll find that in one room there are about six people. There is no privacy. Parents are sleeping together with their children. They do everything in one room,” he said.

However, Khaya Yozi has dismissed allegations that he has ignored the plight of the complainants.

“I attend almost all the meetings that I have been invited to by the community. I’ve heard about a meeting held last Friday, to which I was not invited,” he said.

Yozi explained that the letter the project committee claims to have given him was not addresses to him directly but Brett Heron, the Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development.

Yozi said Herron told him because of the water crisis that the province is facing, his department has had to slash its budget and hand it over to the water department instead.

He added that some of the hostels were owned by private companies like Coke and Diary Belle.

“Masiphakame Housing Project is one of the projects that seceded from Lingelabantu Housing Project to form their own.

Masiphakame didn’t meet the City’s standards so that they can be registered.

But I have tried to assist them meet the standards, “said Yozi.

He said Herron has paid a visit to Nyanga last November.

Nomgqibelo Jalisa, from the Household Housing Project, said they have even gone to the Fezeka Municipal offices in Gugulethu to discuss the housing issue.

“They (Fezeka officials) even asked us how we want our hostels to be built. We wanted each person have his own house, unlike the hostels.

Jalisa said she has been staying in her hostel for 35 years.

“In my room, we are about eight people including children. There is not enough space and no privacy,” she complained.

Nontsapho Velele urged the City to fast-track the building process and threatened that if the City failed to fulfil their promises, they will sleep at Civic Centre in future.

“As women we need to emulate the women of August 9, 1956. We need to go there in numbers and sit there till they respond. We will go there with our stoves and food. We will cook there and sleep.

After the meeting, the project committee visited some of the hostels to demonstrate their conditions to the media.

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