Dreadful hostels to be turned into family units

Gauteng MEC for housing Nomvula Mokonyane recently launched the Gauteng Hostel Eradication Programme.

The programme is a turn-around strategy by the provincial government to fast-track the development of 13 hostels into affordable rental units by the end of the current financial year.

The process marks the beginning of an aggressive plan to completely eradicate all the 54 hostels in Gauteng.

The ground-breaking initiative is expected to yield close to 9500 affordable rental units by March next year, at a cost of R1,4 billion.

The department has appointed contractors and work has begun in all the earmarked projects.

Affordable Rental Accommodation (ARA) is a new approach adopted by the department to redevelop hostels into residential and family units to cater for a variety of housing needs including single and family accommodation.

Speaking to the media after the official launch held at Dube Hostel in Soweto, where the department also displayed a live demolition exercise to flatten a section of the old hostel, Mokonyane emphasised that the eradication process signalled the beginning of a new era in housing delivery in the province.

"As we demolish these old hostels, we are replacing them with new integrated human settlements that will now be called community residential units.

"These units will cater for both hostel residents and surrounding community members.

"The integration of hostels into the broader community will foster harmonious coexistence.

"This will build safe and sustainable communities, ensuring that deserving people with limited disposal income have access to decent housing and shelter.

"Residents who cannot afford the prescribed affordable rentals will be accommodated in other housing programmes in the province," Mokonyane said.

"Our emergency interventions to improve living conditions in these hostels were not yielding desired results and we therefore decided on full-scale eradication process.

"The four Soweto hostels in Dube, Diepkloof, Meadowlands and Orlando West will become pilot projects to showcase our eradication model," Mokonyane added.