ANC-run City of Ekurhuleni continues to subject residents to desperate and undignified living conditions
by Cllr. Mabekenyane Thamahane — DA Shadow MMC for Human Settlements in Ekurhuleni
Date: 13 October 2021
Type: Media Statement
In September 2021, the Democratic Alliance in Ekurhuleni took to the streets of Vusimuzi in Thembisa as part of an ongoing conversation with communities known as ‘the people’s dialogue. Our focus was mainly on the hostels in Ward 90 — Enhlanzeni Hostel, Pink and Blue Hostel, and Castle Hostel.
The living conditions that residents at these hostels are exposed to are appalling, unsanitary, and not suitable for human habitation. What we found when we entered the hostels left us in utter shock and dismay. We were greeted by rodent infestations, sewerage leaks, and piles of waste. The health and safety risks were immediately and clearly evident. When we entered some of the units, the buildings were severely dilapidated, ridden with water leaks and crumbling infrastructure.
It is obvious that maintenance has not taken place for a number of years at these hostels. Of more concern, is that there has been little or no attempt by the ANC and its coalition partners to step in and assist with maintenance.
The poor state of these hostels is the visual result of a Metro that has long disregarded its residents. A majority of the residents in the hostels said they can no longer complain because the City has simply neglected them. The lack of waste collection and the accompanying health hazard is an acute reminder of how the ANC-led Metro has completely failed to provide adequate services to these facilities. The persistent water leaks point to a dire lack of maintenance, which is set to get progressively worse with the rainy season on the horizon. In addition, the inconsistent power supply, a feature of the Metro over the last five years, has not escaped hostel residents, with many resorting to illegal connections for light and to power their appliances, and in the process placing themselves at significant risk.
As the DA, we have escalated all these issues to the Ekurhuleni Human Settlements Department and they have responded as follows, “The Real Estates Department is responsible for cleaning and grass cutting of all Municipal buildings, including hostels. We are in communication with them and they have a new tender in place but have not started implementing it due to budget. We were informed that they will be prioritised after the budget adjustment. Regarding ad hoc maintenance, we are still waiting for Real Estates Department to allocate us with contractors. We have a huge backlog as it is and with a limited budget. In this regard, we have to attend to the various blockages, water and electrical issues. We will not be able to attend to all the maintenance issues and the community hall as our budget has been extremely reduced”.
This, in itself, brings to question why contractors are inflating the prices on repairs. The DA will keep a close eye on these so called contractors who, as we were told by residents, are officials themselves creating side line businesses to generate income for their own pockets. More questions will be asked and we will be asking for an investigation to take place on the current so called contractors where these alleged irregularities are taking place.
As the DA, we find the response from the Human Settlements Department immensely unsatisfactory. The ANC and its coalition partners* cannot be dragging their feet when it comes to addressing these issues, while the community is forced to live in unhealthy and unsanitary conditions.
This lacklustre approach by the governing party is completely unacceptable and the DA will continue to put pressure on the ANC-led Ekurhuleni to conduct the much-needed repairs and maintenance.
The residents of Ekurhuleni deserve better than a government that neglects them. Ekurhuleni residents deserve a well-run government that delivers basic services and provides a healthy and safe environment. A DA-run Ekurhuleni will be committed and determined to deliver on the basic rights of residents by ensuring effective and responsive service delivery and prioritise the regular maintenance and refurbishment of municipal infrastructure.
The DA runs the best municipal, metro, and provincial governments in the country, and we can honestly put forward this track record as proof of our offer.
*ANC Coalition Partners: African Independent Congress (AIC), Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), Patriotic Alliance (PA) and Independent Ratepayers Association of South Africa (IRASA)
Cllr. Mabekenyane Thamahane
DA Shadow MMC for Human Settlements in Ekurhuleni