Madala hostel in Alexandra has been in a poor state for decades, according to residents. Photo: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency (ANA)
Alexandra - Deliver basic services or we will not vote. That is the ultimatum the residents of Madala hostel in Alexandra, Joburg have given the government ahead of the elections.

They said they had been engaging with government officials about their problems since 2013 to no avail.

One resident, Makhosonke Maphumulo, said they were fed up with begging.

“No one will vote in this area. We keep on voting but the politicians are squandering money instead of serving the people. This building is about to collapse and we told the government, but they keep lying to us. They’ve been promising to fix it, but nothing has happened,” said Maphumulo.

Independent Media visited the hostel and found a dysfunctional sewerage system, overcrowded rooms and dark hallways. The appalling living conditions at the hostel, which was built in 1970, led to a violent protest in 2014 in which an Independent Electoral Commission centre was set alight.

Induna Sipho Mwelase said the hostel was dilapidated at the dawn of democracy.

“The government has not refurbished it since we put them in power in 1994. Why should we vote when these people (government) are not working for the people?”

“Government should fix the building and we will vote. I didn’t even register to vote,” another resident, Khulani Mvelase said.

Provincial Department of Human Settlements’ spokesperson Lebo Keswa said the Madala upgrade was one of the hostel redevelopment priority projects.

“Two years ago a contractor was appointed, but there was a stand-off on issues that have since been resolved.

“The first phase of construction on the project to redevelop Madala will start in April,” Keswa said.

DA spokesperson Solly Malatsi said: “The most effective way to use their power is to vote for change.”

ANC spokesperson Dakota Legoete said the matter would be raised with the Gauteng ANC “so it can be taken up with the irresponsible City of Joburg”.

“We encourage all who feel they have been ignored to vote and remove the government that doesn’t care,” IFP provincial chairperson Bonginkosi Dhlamini said.

Sunday Independent