Melgisedek Hostel in Gezina. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency/ANA
Pretoria - Illegal occupants at Melgisedek complex in Riviera, Pretoria, will be relocated almost four years after the property was declared unsafe for human habitation by the City of Tshwane.

MMC for Human Settlements Mandla Nkomo said the relocation followed an announcement by mayor Stevens Mokgalapa that the property would be developed into a student residence.

Mokgalapa named the dilapidated property among those to be leased to private businesses for the purpose of alleviating the shortage of student accommodation.

Nkomo said he was mindful that the city would have to provide alternative accommodation for the inhabitants before the relocation.

However, he said the municipality was unsure about the exact location to which they would be moved.

Private businesses would be invited to make proposals on how they would develop municipal buildings into student hostels.

Nkomo said the proposals ought to include relocation plans and the implementation of such processes.

“Where people would be relocated to, and how, is going to be part of the package,” he said.

He said inhabitants qualifying for rental stock housing would be moved to those properties, while others would be moved to RDP houses.

Last year, then MMC for health and social development Sakkie du Plooy said the municipality was in talks with the University of Pretoria, which had proposed turning the buildings into a hostel for medical students.

Asked about the development, Nkomo said: “Whatever the proposal that comes through, the plans of the mayor for the city will be considered.”

University of Pretoria spokesperson Thamsanqa Mthembu was yet to clarify whether the institution was still interested in securing the building by late yesterday.

Nkomo said the city expected different proposals to be submitted after it had invited private businesses to develop the property.

Melgisedek was condemned by the then ANC administration and measures were put in place to conduct an audit of the people living there to work out a relocation plan for them. However, efforts by city officials didn’t bear positive results at the time.

Previously, a crèche there was closed and informal traders ordered to leave. The traders, however, returned.

The building is without electricity and toilets had been turned into living quarters, leaving the people with no ablution facilities.

Some occupants relieved themselves behind the buildings, while others used toilets at nearby shopping centres or petrol stations.