Tshwane mayor Stevens Mokgalapa. African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - If the City of Tshwane and mayor Stevens Mokgalapa are to be believed, there are massive plans for unused buildings in the capital.

The buildings will be redeveloped and used to accommodate the large student population studying at institutions of higher learning in the city.

This is vital, as Tshwane has more universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training colleges than any other major economic hub in the country.

These students must be accommodated somewhere, be it on campus or privately.

At the end of March, the mayor told council the long-standing problem of shortage of accommodation would be a thing of the past.

At the time, he said his administration intended to develop its derelict buildings into student residences.

He received a round of applause from all political parties in council for the decision.

Since Mokgalapa announcement in council, the city has announced plans for the iconic former Kruger Park flats on the western outskirts of the heart of the city to be rehabilitated and converted into student accommodation.

The neighbouring Schubart Park is being delayed by a court action, but chances are that it will also become student accommodation.

The unwanted cousin of Tshwane too, Melgisedek complex in Riviera, will be converted into a residence for students.

Another plan announced recently is the improvements at hostels, while council last week approved the restoration of the Caledonian Stadium, a matter that has been on the municipal agenda for many years.

So all in all, promises are being made, but whether they happen or not remains to be seen.

Now, don’t get it twisted; this is in no way about praising the mayor for all these plans, but a simple reminder that the people have heard it all.

As it is, residents at both Melgisedek and the hostels in Mamelodi have doubts about these plans.

And you cannot fault them, for they have heard it all before.

Mind you, the country is in baby-kissing and granny-hugging season, and anything will be said and done attract voters.

All associated with political parties want to appear to be the better devil than the next guy. Promises will be made, houses and title deeds handed over and roads such as the so-called death bend near the Voortrekker Monument upgraded. All projects that have been hanging during the past five years suddenly reach conclusion or see the light of day on the eve of an election. 

* Mudzuli is Pretoria News assistant editor. He writes in a personal capacity.

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