Not enough being done to reverse hostile environment at Glebelands hostel, says acting PP

Acting public protector Kholeka Gcaleka and members of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature visit the Glebelands hostel in Umlazi, south of Durban.
Acting public protector Kholeka Gcaleka and members of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature visit the Glebelands hostel in Umlazi, south of Durban.
Image: Lwazi Hlangu

Acting public protector Kholeka Gcaleka has expressed concern about the pace of the implementation of the 2017 report at Glebelands hostel.

Gcaleka, with members of the KwaZulu-Natal legislature, visited the hostel in Umlazi, south of Durban, on Friday to check on the progress of the implementation of remedial actions recommended by suspended public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane regarding service delivery challenges.

The report found the eThekwini municipality, police and department of social development guilty of maladministration and improper conduct, which led to Glebelands becoming a haven for hitmen and one of the most violent housing complexes in the country.

Gcaleka acknowledged there was some progress, especially with regards to providing alternative accommodation for people who were forcefully evicted and the repairing of damaged infrastructure.

“Some work is being done like replacing old windows and painting the old buildings that needed maintenance. There are new family units that have been built,” she said.

“We have seen a few family units that have been built for the people who were evicted forcefully, but we haven’t sat down with the municipality to find out who has been put in these new blocks and how far are they with the implementation plan they gave us.”

Gcaleka found the city was lagging in implementing some of Mkhwebane’s recommendations in her June 2017 report, including that the city manager ensure the hostel grounds and grass verges are trimmed on a regular basis.

“There is still some work to do with monitoring the working condition of infrastructure. We found out that grass verges and fields haven’t been trimmed for a while now. We were told that the contract with the service provider that was responsible for it had lapsed and we’re concerned with that because a contract has management and monitoring. They know when a contract is ending and should have started the process of new contract before it comes to this,” she said.

“This place has been marred by violence so it's important that security majors are always prioritised.”

KwaZulu-Natal legislature speaker Nontembeko Boyce said they were pleased to see work was being done but they were not happy with the state of some blocks and the socioeconomic conditions at the hostel.

“That there are so many residents who are here at this time of day speaks to the state of the socio-economy of the province. When we go back we will speak to the relevant portfolio committee responsible for oversight ... so they get to understand what are the other underlying issues responsible for the state that we see here,” she said.

“I don't want to believe that we can really resolve all issues that are here by just putting up buildings. I think there is much more that needs to be done but that will be determined by the various portfolio committees responsible.”


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