The uninhabitable Langa hostels, originally designed to host single males who came to work in Cape Town, will soon be converted into attractive family units.
According to the City of Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for human settlements, Malusi Booi, the City has budgeted R1 billion to upgrade the gloomy hostels.
Mr Booi visited Langa on Thursday May 2, to engage with residents about housing-related queries.
The hostels, which became the home of hundreds of municipal workers, are now in state of disrepair. Many of them have become a health hazard and in some there are 10 family members or more living in one room.
However, according to Mr Booi that is coming to an end as the City is upgrading not only Langa but also parts of Gugulethu and Nyanga.
Mr Booi said the City is in a drive to eradicate the housing backlog by converting these hostels to accomodate families. “I am here to see the state of these hostels. We have budgeted R1 billion to upgrade them. It is something that we have realised for years – that the conditions here are terrible. Some of the hostels will be totally demolished. This covers part of Section 2 and 3 in Gugulethu and Nyanga,”
On the day, Mr Booi also joined the City’s MyEstate mobile housing office to educate and engage with residents. The office-on-wheels started operating in December 2017 to make services more accessible to tenants. It renders various tenancy management services such as logging service requests on behalf of tenants, assisting tenants with rent relief applications, housing database queries and new applications, completion of lease agreements, arrangements for rental accounts in arrears and general enquiries.
On the day, residents also received information regarding upcoming housing projects in the area. Area committee members expressed happiness with the new developments. The committee said when they first met the City they were not sure because of the elections and the promises that normally abound during election campaigns. They, however, said when the councillor told them about the engineers that were coming, they started to believe that it was not about elections.
Committee chairperson Michael Duma said if the development takes too long, the committee will be a pain at the councillor’s office. “
But we are happy with what we have seen. We are adamant that change is coming in Langa Zones. But the councillor knows that we will also be a pain for him and his office,” he said.
The news was also welcomed by hostel residents. Nomabali Hawulana, who stays with 12 other family members in one room, said the development was long overdue. She said it was not a good thing to share one room with 12 people. “There is clearly no space here. We sleep and use the same room as a kitchen. You can imagine at night. But this is promising and I am happy. I will be happier when I see the development,” she told Vukani.