Hostel and informal settlements residents are forced to continue to live in appalling conditions due to MEC Maile’s department incompetence

Residents of the Madala hostel in Alexandra continue to live in appalling and inhumane conditions where the hostel structure has deteriorated into more disrepair, while the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements is consistently failing to meet its quarterly target of converting hostels into family units, approving of hostel projects plans, and providing interim service support to informal settlements.

The living conditions at hostels and informal settlements across the province are unsanitary and not suitable for human habitation.

There are inadequate or no drainage systems with no proper sanitation, leading to regular sewer blockages and resulting in raw sewerage flowing all over the place right outside where people live. There is also no regular refuse removal, with piles of uncollected refuse and litter creating a very dangerous health hazard for residents, while many parts of the informal settlements continue to go without electricity.

The department’s failure to meet its quarterly targets was revealed in the first quarterly report for the 2021/22 financial year.

The department failed to meet any of its targets set to convert three hostels into family units, phase two upgrading of five informal settlements, while 10 informal settlements did not receive National Support Programme assessments.

This indicates that no work was done for the hostels and informal settlements residents during the quarter under review.

They also failed to achieve its target of approving five hostel project plans with only two approved. Furthermore, they did not achieve its planned target of formalisation of 55 townships.

For the past years, Human Settlements has never achieved all of its set targets and has failed to spend on its allocated budget, which indicates that there is an urgent need for a complete overhaul of this department.

This is a clear indication that the current government has failed to provide dignified housing for our people and the only solution is to vote for change by putting the DA in power. The DA-led Gauteng government will provide a workable and implementable plan to run an efficient and effective department.

Strict timelines and penalties to contractors who fail to meet the deadlines will be implemented as well as consequence management for officials to ensure accountability, diligence, and commitment to the core mandate of the department.

The DA will continue to provide alternatives and solutions to resolve issues faced by this department and ensure that the living conditions of our people are improved. We will also continue to hound MEC Maile to ensure that there is operational accountability to better the lives of our people who are in desperate need of dignified housing and environment, so that delivery from this department can actually improve and residents can finally be provided what they deserve.

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More than 30 families share one toilet

Residents of Mshayazafe hostel in Thokoza, Ekurhuleni are in desperate need of dignified housing but are forced to live in squalor. More than thirty families in one block of the hostel are sharing one toilet and unable to regularly wash their hands.  This is wholly unacceptable under any circumstances, but especially so considering the need for regular handwashing during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 While more than one million Gauteng residents wait for their housing allocation by government, the Department of Human Settlements is consistently failing to meet its quarterly target of upgrading informal settlements, releasing land parcels, converting hostels into family units, completing unfinished housing projects and providing interim service support to informal settlements. 

The living conditions that our residents at Mshayazafe hostel and Empilisweni informal settlements are exposed to are appalling, unsanitary and not suitable for human habitation. 

Photos can be seen here_ here_ here _here _

The failure of meeting its quarterly targets was revealed in the fourth quarterly report of the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements for the 2020/21 financial year. The department failed to achieve any of the targets set, resulting in no work done during the quarter.

The failed targets included the handover of 500 land release parcels to beneficiaries, the target to procure 7375 land release parcel opportunities on the serviced sites from the private sector, but only 218 land release parcels were procured. 

The releasing of land parcels plays a critical role in giving our residents an opportunity to build their own houses and not solely rely on government to provide them with dignified housing. This saves the department money in terms of building top structures and reduces the number of those on the housing waiting list.

The department also failed to achieve its target to complete 239 top structures in regard to incomplete/abandoned/blocked housing projects. Furthermore, they did not achieve its planned target to formalise 37 townships. Completing these unfinished housing projects would have relieved pressure from both the department and residents by providing housing to people and further reducing the housing waiting list.

They also failed to convert three hostel projects into family units and to complete 30 family units from hostels, which are under construction. Considering the appalling living conditions that our hostel residents, across the province, are exposed to on a daily basis, the department should be prioritising delivering dignified family units to these residents.

 Lastly, the department failed to meet its target of providing interim services support to 63 informal settlements and to provide phase two upgrading to two informal settlements.

The department’s failure to deliver services to the residents of informal settlements is wholly unacceptable, especially during this economically and socially challenging period as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Failure to provide water, sanitation and ablution services possibly exacerbated the health challenges of communities living in informal settlements, and is a smear on the constitutional rights of South African citizens.

We will not hesitate in holding Gauteng MEC for Human Settlements, Lebogang Maile accountable for his department’s failure to realise the rights of these citizens, and the utter indignity they experience on a daily basis.

We call on MEC Maile to ensure that his department prioritise delivering of dignified housing to our people, as they cannot continue living in inhumane conditions. We will also demand MEC Maile to provide a detailed plan on the turnaround strategy with regards to delivering housing in the new financial year. Where the DA governs in Tshwane, we have already handed over serviced stands to our residents to ensure that they have dignified housing.

Local Government Elections are coming up in 2021! Visit to check your voter registration status.



Gauteng Provincial Government fails to provide dignified houses for hostel residents

Gauteng hostel residents across the province continue to live in appalling conditions; their pleas for dignified houses have been ignored by the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG).

Millions have been spent on maintaining the hostels but there is nothing to show for the money spent as some of the building structures are old and dilapidated and can no longer be maintained.

According to the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements’ annual report for 2018/19 financial year, the department conducted maintenance on the six hostels it owns which are located in the Johannesburg CBD, namely; George Goch, Denver, Jeppe, LTA, MBA and Murray & Roberts hostels. The scope of the maintenance work includes the following; daily general cleaning, removal of refuse, plumbing and electrical maintenance.

However, according to the Auditor General’s (AG) report they were unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to support the department’s claim that it has actually achieved its target of maintaining the above six hostels.

Photos _ here_ here_ here_ here_

This can be seen from the attached photos, the conditions in these hostels are appalling and not fit for human habitation.

These hostels are dirty, there is no regular refuse removal, and there are piles of waste throughout the hostels. There are also water leakages and sewer blockages.

Gauteng hostel residents are exposed to inhumane unsanitary and appalling living conditions.

I believe what the AG report is saying and its high time that the GPG eradicates the hostels altogether as they represent apartheid spatial planning. Hostels should be converted into family units so that the hostel residents can be offered dignified housing and access to basic services.

I will continue to put pressure on the GPG to deliver proper services and housing to hostel residents.

DA Gauteng proposes Motion on Living Conditions in Hostels


The following speeches were delivered in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature today by DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Community Safety, Michele Clarke MPL and DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Human Settlements, Mervyn Cirota MPL, during a debate on living conditions in hostels across Gauteng.

Michele Clarke MPL

“Hostel dwellers in Gauteng deserve better housing”
• The hostels in our province are unsanitary and pose a severe health risk to residents. There is no access to water and electricity in some of our hostels. The safety of residents is often under serious threat, there is a high rate of crime that includes murder and prostitution.
• The living conditions in the Gauteng hostels are inhumane and not conducive for human habitation. The hostel’s infrastructure is crumbling, old and dilapidated;
• The Gauteng Department of Human Settlements should ensure the regular maintenance of hostels that require urgent maintenance, not waste money in maintaining hostels that need to be demolished; and
• The Gauteng Provincial Government, together with all municipalities in the province should prioritize delivering services such as water, electricity, and refuse collection to all the hostels in Gauteng.

The full speech can be obtained here.

Mervyn Cirota MPL

“Hostel dwellers must be treated with dignity and respect”

• It is thus with deep frustration and disappointment that I report to this house that undertakings by the ANC remain hollow and unfulfilled and that residents continue to live in squalor and despair;
• The lack of basic facilities such as water supply, the lack of basic sanitation and the filth and decay that exists with the full knowledge and consent of the ANC administration in Gauteng, is appalling;
• Both the Premier and the MEC have in this house acknowledged that urgent steps need to be taken to provide suitable living conditions that guarantee these residents dignity and a dignified environment as specified in our Constitution, yet to date not much has been done to improve the conditions in hostels across the province.

The full speech can be obtained here.