Hostel moms refuse to part with kids
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Durban - Mothers who keep their children with them at Durban’s Thokoza Hostel have until Thursday to send them back home.
At a meeting held at the hostel in Dr Yusuf Dadoo (Grey) Street, last Thursday, eThekwini-employed hostel superintendent Siyabonga Mkhize told residents they had seven days to send their children home, on the instruction of the municipality.
On Tuesday, disgruntled residents held a meeting in the presence of hostel dwellers organisation Ubunye Bamahostela to discuss the order and threatened to blockade roads near the city’s hostels.
Ubunye spokesman, Mthembiseni Thusi, told the anxious women that the organisation would be filing papers to interdict the municipality from “evicting” their children.
Joyce Buthelezi, a resident, said they had nowhere to take their children.
“We work here in Durban and it’s easy to have our children with us. It’s expensive to support children back home with the meagre wages we earn. The municipality came with a plan a long time ago to convert our hostel into family units, we are still waiting. Now we are told to send our children packing even though some are already at school,” she said.
She said it was unfair to convert some hostels into family units while others were left unchanged.
Another resident, Thembi Memela, said she had been living at the hostel since 1980.
“Instead of improving our living condition, they chase children away. How will that help the situation, because some of these children were born here? They (municipality) should convert this place into family units,” she said.
Some residents distanced themselves from those defying the municipal order. While the disgruntled ones gathered in the hostel’s atrium, others stood in corridors, indicating they were against resistance.
“A person in their right senses would not raise children in this place. The conditions here are just not conducive for child upbringing. To expose children to these conditions, the vulgar language and rowdy behaviour is just not on. In one room you have three to five people,” said one resident who refused to identify herself.
Ubunye Bamahostela threatened to blockade the main roads near Durban’s 10 hostels.
Thusi said: “If they evict these women before Friday, then we will be forced to mobilise all hostel dwellers to blockade all the main roads in close proximity to all the hostels around Durban.”
Municipal spokesman, Thabo Mofokeng, confirmed the residents had been given seven days to send their children home. “The agreement with the residents was that children can visit during holidays and be sent back home.
“We have had several meetings with them (residents) since last month to convince them to comply with the rules. Most of them agreed that the conditions were inhumane for children,” Mofokeng said.
He said if residents failed to meet the seven-day deadline, the municipality would enforce the rules.
“It’s the municipal programme to convert all the hostels, but they can’t be done all at once,” he said.