Old hostel roofs get welcomed makeover

2018-04-12 06:00
Workers replacing old asbestos sheeting with new zinc sheeting at Lwandle hostels.PHOTO: velani ludidi

Workers replacing old asbestos sheeting with new zinc sheeting at Lwandle hostels.PHOTO: velani ludidi

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Lwandle Hostels are receiving a much-needed makeover from the City of Cape Town.

Residents of the area often complain about the dilapidated condition of the hostels, as the roofs were made of asbestos and the solar elements on top of the roofs were stolen.

“Our roofs were leaking,” said Yonela Ngwenze (27).

“The asbestos was not good for our health and the municipality knew that from 2015 when we asked them to be changed. I am happy that someone listened and this also brings dignity to our lives,” she says.

Residents have held numerous protests in 2016 asking for the asbestos to be removed and now that is finally happening.

The hostels were built in the 1990s for male migrant workers who were not allowed to bring spouses with them.

To some, like Lizalise Nondala (58), the replacement of the roofs means regular visits to the doctor will soon be over.

“I worked at a construction company and I almost got the disease asbestosis, but I quit when the doctors told me about the risks. The roof was now the problem because it was made of the same asbestos I was running away from. I think my health will now improve after this makeover,” says the hopeful Nondala.

The roofs are currently being replaced with zinc roof sheeting at a cost of more than R1 million.

The work is scheduled for completion by the end of June 2018, according to councillor Stuart Diamond, Mayoral Committee Member for Assets and Facilities Management.

“The City of Cape Town is in the process of upgrading and implementing a restoration project at its rental stock in Lwandle (blocks A to D). Once the construction of the new roof sheeting is completed, window replacements and facades will be given a makeover,” he says.

The restoration project started in January this year and the overall work is expected to be done by June 2019.

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