Hesiah Mabulana says he has lived in hostels in Zone 16, Ga-Rankuwa, outside Pretoria, for more than 20 years. During this time, the buildings have fallen into ruin because the City of Tshwane has not maintained them, he says.
The hostels were built to house male council workers in the 1960s. A total of 120 small, one-room units are divided in blocks of eight with communal toilets outside.
“These hostels are an accident waiting to happen. Our toilets are blocked and not working. We ask neighbours when we need to relieve ourselves,” said Mabulana.
According to Mabulana, residents used to pay the City for utilities, but stopped paying as conditions deteriorated. “We cannot pay for living in rotten hostels. They must come fix and maintain this place,” he said.
READ: Joburg’s housing backlog will take 100 years to deal with, but young councillor is on the job
Stanley Muthabeni lives in a one-room unit with his family. “We live in squalor. These structures are a threat to our lives. In our block, there are cracks all over. The situation is even worse for those of us with kids. The conditions are inhumane,” he said.
David Maake says he has lived in the hostels since 2001. He said the toilets in his block have not been working in years.
The roof is asbestos and it leaks when it rains. The windows have been shut with bricks and cardboard. He said their requests for help from the City have been fruitless.
READ: Watch | The task of reclaiming inner city Jozi is making progress
Ward 45 Councillor Violet Phalwane (ANC) referred our questions about the hostels to the City spokesperson. She also promised to raise the residents’ complaints with the council.
The City has not responded to our written questions since Monday.
This article was first published on GroundUp. Read the original article here.