Emfuleni Local Municipality will spend at least R46 Million this financial year to convert the Kwa-Masiza hostel in Sebokeng into community residential units.
This project entails the refurbishment of 672 units, water, sewer and electricity. Water and sewer networks are at 95% completion stage. The project is on hold until occupants start to move into the temporary units which will be delivered during the course of this week. The contractor (Makgotamishe) will start working on the buildings. Building works and electrification is expected to be complete in 3 years time.
The Kwa-Masiza Hostel was built in the late seventies by ISKOR steel company to provide accommodation for their migrant workers. It was only men who were allowed to stay on the hostel.
With the new renovated family hostel units, it will be able to provide residents with rights like privacy and security. “With this project we want to bring back dignity and pride to these families. Historically, the hostels were intended and structured to accommodate only single men, mainly migrant workers from the apartheid era” explained Greta Hlongwane, the executive mayor.
The hostel experienced an influx of people during the years which lead to overcrowding. This resulted in the overstretching of services such as water and electricity. The overcrowding ultimately prompted the management at the time to stop the maintaining the building and the occupants also stopped paying for the rental and services.
Services such as water, sewer and electricity lines and connections started to be vandalized and the situation became uncontrollable and unsafe for the occupants. This made the leadership of the hostel to approach the Emfuleni municipality for an intervention and the building was transferred to the municipality early last year.
Clr Hlongwane indicates the 672 units’ project will without any doubt restore the pride and dignity to the residents. “I urge you to make sure that you pay for services upon completion of the project. Do not allow overcrowding as this will make it difficult for the municipality to manage and maintain your property,” urges Hlongwane.
By Stanley Gaba