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City's new move to end Diepkloof Hostel impasse


The City of Johannesburg will from July conduct an audit in all Soweto hostels to ascertain the financial positions of all their inhabitants, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Housing Councillor Dan Bovu announced yesterday 17 May.

MMC Bovu was addressing residents of Diepkloof Hostel in Soweto, where he explained how residents could qualify for the residential units that had been built in the hostel precinct for rental purposes. About 90 units, completed in 2008 are standing empty following a dispute between the City and residents on the modalities of who qualified for them.

While stressing that the City was determined to do away with apartheid-style hostels, the MMC said the audit would assist the City to determine how many people qualified for rental units, free housing and bonded property.

“With a proper audit, we will be able to know who deserves what and what needs to be done,” MMC Bovu said.

The MMC had earlier acknowledged that the City might have erred in building strictly rental units before conducting a survey to determine who qualified. A packed hall heard that priority would be given to those who were moved to temporary shelters about a month ago.

The City will from tomorrow conduct a separate audit of all the 110 residents accommodated at temporary shelters to determine their financial status and to ascertain whether they qualified for free housing, rental units or bonded property. The audit's report is expected in 14 days’ time. The meeting also heard that the City’s multimillion rand programme to reconstruct hostels did not imply hostels were being completely done away with.

MMC Bovu said instead the City was determined to end the squalid conditions under which residents lived and to create family units to enhance social cohesion and promote integration.

Member of the Gauteng Provincial Legislature Phakathi Dlamini said it was clear the new residential units were not what hostel residents had expected and called for a change in attitude in dealing with the housing challenges faced by hostel residents.

Ward councillor Solly Mogase said the way had now been cleared for a speedy and amicable resolution of the housing problem at the hostel.  A long-time Diepkloof Hostel resident, Emily Mvelase, criticised the City for what she termed a “false start”.

“They now want to conduct an audit, which is what they should have done in the first place. We will once more wait and see,” she said.