Municipalities called to enhance focus on integrated human settlements

The Portfolio Committee on Human Settlements has urged national and provincial governments, together with municipalities, to enhance their focus on the integrated human settlements model as a measure to eradicate hostels.
The committee made the call on the last day of its weeklong oversight visit to Gauteng, where members visited Mamelodi Hostel in Tshwane to assess the implementation of the Hostel Redevelopment Programme and the Inner City Social Housing Project.
Committee Chairperson, Machwene Semenya, said the committee remains of the view that the old hostel model is undesirable and “urgency is needed to eradicate these vestiges of the old regime”.
“The committee has observed that the majority of residents of hostels are largely unemployed and thus require a broad range of interventions to cater for various categories,” Semenya said.
The committee called on the Department of Human Settlements to contribute to social integration, by developing family units that accommodate the entire family and maintain the family structure.
“The reality is that there is a high unemployment rate in Mamelodi and South Africa in general, thus hostels are populated by largely unemployed residents. This impacts on the ability to collect rental, leading to dilapidation and non-maintenance,” Semenya said.
The committee further called for collaboration between the municipality and hostel residents, as well as the broader community to reduce friction between hostel dwellers and the community.
It reiterated the call for councillors to refrain from participating in the beneficiary list administration process, warning that their participation has the potential of adding perceptions of being biased towards the process.
“We have argued that councillors must play a purely oversight role in the administration of the list. Furthermore, officials must be monitored to ensure that the process is free of any bias,” the chairperson said.
Temporary Residential Units
With regards to the Temporary Residential Units (TRUs) at Mamelodi Hostel, the committee welcomed the intention behind the development and implementation of the TRUs, as part of COVID-19 decongestion intervention.
However, the committee called for a proper process followed by clear implementation of prescripts of the process in allocation of the TRUs.
The committee called for a comprehensive report indicating if the intentions of the interventions were achieved.
Meanwhile, the committee acknowledged the challenge regarding land availability that the City and government, in general, can use in the development of infrastructure for housing opportunities for the people.
The committee urged the municipality to work together with the Valuer General to ensure that the purchase of land is not overpriced.
With regards to the inner city mega project, the committee expressed its appreciation at the quality of workmanship at the site and welcomed the information that local businesses have participated in the development.
The committee called for the completion of Phase 1 of the project to ensure the security of tenure for Tshwane residents.
The committee has further requested a detailed plan from the City of Tshwane with a clear strategy on how it can leverage abandoned buildings, including Schubart and Kruger Parks, as social housing initiatives to alleviate hunger for housing in Tshwane. – SAnews.