In an statement discharged by the workplace of MEC of Human Settlement‚ Paul Mashatile‚ the office said it was stunned over the assertions that it had ignored the Dube inn and its inhabitants in Soweto‚ south of Johannesburg.
The Gauteng Department of Human Settlement has put the blame of the vandalised Dube Hostel in Soweto on the City of Johannesburg.
The department’s spokesperson‚ Keith Khoza‚ said that provincial government has handed the Dube hostel to the City of Johannesburg‚ in line with the mandate to hand over hostels to municipalities.
“We transferred the hostel to the City of Johannesburg. What we will do as the province is to assist them to rebuild the place and allocate to beneficiaries‚” said Khoza.
Khoza said that Dube hostel is the responsibility of the City of Johannesburg and the current state of the hostel should have been addressed long ago by the city.
He said it was astonishing that they shifted responsibility whenever they were out of their depth.
“The City of Johannesburg was supposed to fix and allocate the units to the hostel dwellers but they failed to secure the funding to renovate the hostel and later hit a backlog. As a result nothing has been done to date‚” said Khoza.
He said the department was calling on the mayor of the City of Johannesburg‚ Herman Mashaba‚ to take full responsibility because the hostel fell under his municipality.
The province spent R95-million building 1‚870 low-cost housing units adjacent to the Dube Hostel in Soweto to house residents from Diepkloof and Mzimhlophe.
But hostel dwellers refused to move in‚ saying they could not afford to pay for the services and refused to allow other qualifying beneficiaries to move in.
The project then deteriorated into a nightmare for the residents living in and around the development.
Guards who protected the new development left the area after there were issues about their payment. Then vandalism began and it got worse by the day.
Police in Soweto confirmed last year that people were being mugged in the deserted units and sometimes dead bodies would be found there.
All the roofs of the houses have been ripped off‚ along with steel fixtures. Only the walls remain in what was once a “state of the art” development. Underground pipes have also been completely dug out.
Khoza said when Mashatile visited the hostel in March he was told that “the City of Johannesburg was in a process of appointing a service provider to fix the current damages and will allocate the units very soon”.