Mixed reaction to proposed Mamelodi Hostel mixed-use precinct

Inside one of the units at the Mamelodi Hostel. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Inside one of the units at the Mamelodi Hostel. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 16, 2022


Pretoria - The proposed Mamelodi Hostel mixed-use precinct urban development should not become another project that will be infiltrated by greedy people who manipulate the beneficiary list to benefit their pockets.

These views were expressed by the hostel dwellers in reaction to the proposed development, following public participation held by Tshwane MMC for human settlements Abel Tau.

About 4 880 mixed integrated residential units comprising fully subsidised, bonded, Financed Linked Individual Subsidy Programme and rental, will be provided to accommodate the different income groups informed by the socio-economic survey.

Clustered social amenities centre and business opportunities will also be developed to complement these residential land uses.

Ablution facilities at the Mamelodi Hostel are a sight for sore eyes. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

However, hostel dwellers said they had seen, many times, housing developments in Tshwane benefit the wrong people due to greedy corrupt local leaders who colluded with government officials.

According to them, sometimes aggressive people wanted to skip the housing beneficiary list queue by forcefully awarding themselves units and refusing to leave when confronted.

They said this happened with RDP houses in Olievenhoutbosch and Nellmapius, but to this day those people still lived there and refused to leave and policing and government authorities lacked a will to see them removed.

A man who asked to be identified as Joel said: “We met with MMC Abel Tau to talk about this development and we are disappointed for a number of reasons.

“First, they held the public participation for just one day without satisfying involvement of the thousands of people who have been living here for decades like me. That shows there was not enough awareness created about that meeting and its purpose.

“Second, it felt like they held the public participation but they already decided what they are going to do and how they are going to do it. Our inputs were just a formality.

“Third, we are not satisfied, a lot of us, that sufficient measures will be put in place to make sure that this development benefits the right people. We have been seeing people come from far and just use force to place themselves in housing units. It happens even here in the hostel.

“Last, we have been living in poor living conditions for a very long time, we want to see progress, and we are tired of being given promises. If you look here in Block 2 for example, there are thousands of us here; more than 2 000.

“There are adults, pupils, children and women now, but we only have three working toilets. We have just a few taps. The showers have been broken for many years and the three that work we are basically expected all share them with the children and women. That cannot be right.”

Another resident, identified as Johannes, said: “News of this development is indeed good news.

“We are tired of living like we do not have human rights.

“This will give us dignity and integrity. We just want the powers that be to ensure that criminal minds do not use corruption and force to manipulate the list of beneficiaries.”

Tau said: “The City undertakes to ensure that qualifying beneficiaries are prioritised in the new development.

“The development will contribute to the upgrading of the Solomon Mahlangu Precinct, making it a people’s place with a focus on pedestrians.

He said the process sought to assure hostel residents and the broader community the department and the City valued their inputs in developing plans that sought to uplift their living conditions and that the proposed development aligned with their aspirations.

“The City of Tshwane understands its responsibility to facilitate consultation meetings on several issues and issue-specific public participation sessions to allow affected parties to participate directly in the planning of the proposed developments.”

Pretoria News