Democratic Alliance provincial leaders visited the crowded Mamelodi hostels in Pretoria on Tuesday. Picture: ANA

Pretoria - The Democratic Alliance (DA) on Tuesday said it had been “horrified” by the living conditions of South Africans staying at the highly populated, rundown Mamelodi hostels, east of Pretoria.

DA Gauteng spokesperson for human settlements, Mervyn Cirota, the party’s constituency head for Mamelodi, Fred Nel, as well as the DA’s Mamelodi ward 38 chairperson Daniel Sello, went on an oversight visit to the Mamelodi hostels, which are inhabited by thousands of dwellers.

“We’ve come here to look, to check the conditions under which people live in this area, in these hostels. As we have been in other parts of the province, we are horrified. Except for a little bit of maintenance work, people here live [in conditions] worse than animals. Rats wouldn’t live in these conditions,” said Cirota during the tour.

“I am sad to say the budgets keep getting cut, even this year the budget has been cut further, and there is less and less money for this kind of thing. The city [Tshwane] is being stymied because the funding that is supposed to come from the National Treasury and from the [Gauteng] province is not arriving at the city. The city has a difficult problem in fixing up things.”

Nkele Molapo, chairperson of the oversight committee on housing and human settlements, told journalists that the conditions at Mamelodi hostels were appalling. Video: ANA

Cirota said the Mamelodi situation was characteristic of other hostels across Gauteng.

“The sad thing is that this is one of many, many hostels. If you go to hostels in the east, if you go to hostels in Alexander, if you go to hostels in the province, they are all in the same conditions. We have had promises, and promises every year during the budgets debates. Every year we get promised that the hostels will be fixed up, we are still waiting. I have challenged the MEC [Gauteng’s human settlements, cooperative governance and traditional affairs MEC Paul Mashatile] to come and visit, I have challenged him to come and stay here for a night so that he can feel and live the conditions,” said Cirota.

“If it is a caring government in Gauteng, they must care and show that they care by providing funding and proper accountability.  People who are supposed to do the job must do it. That is not happening. I am laying the challenge to both Makhura [Gauteng Premier David Makhura] and the new MEC, whoever that will be. They must come and look, and give us a plan.”

Mashatile has recently been elected ANC treasurer-general and is anticipated to leave his position as an MEC in Gauteng.

Makhura delivered his state-of-the-province address on Monday, in which he centred on service delivery and growth in his province, which is the economic hub of South Africa.

Nkele Molapo, chairperson of the oversight committee on housing and human settlements said the appalling conditions in Mamelodi proved that basic services were being politicised by the ANC-run provincial government led by Makhura.

“What I have seen now, our people are living in terrible conditions. It is all because of the provincial government’s incompetence and politicisation of basic service delivery. They want to score cheap political points at the expense of our people. As a city, we are responsible for rudimentary services, that is water and sanitation,” said Molapo.

African News Agency/ANA