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Residents of the Helen Joseph Hostel in Alex Township have been left without electricity for two weeks, while gas stoves in the kitchens have had their supply stopped by the municipality. This is on top of the fact that these residents have not had running water for two years and now rely on the regular delivery of Jojo tanks to use for cooking and cleaning.
These are just some of the service delivery failures I observed during my visit to the Hostel yesterday. During my walkabout, I was able to engage directly with some of the residents who were able to describe some of their hardships, especially the women residents who fear for their safety. With no electrical supply, the corridors of the Hostel remain dark during both day and night, while the main gate to the Hostel building has been damaged and now cannot be locked. These factors created a very unsafe environment for women residents, who are at risk of harassment or sexual assault by coming-of-age male residents.
With no running water, the bathrooms are in an appalling state. Residents are forced to take a bucket to the Jojo tanks to get water for use in the bathrooms. This is a totally unacceptable situation for residents, especially during the Covid-19 era.
The cut to supply to the gas stoves in the kitchens have also compromised the livelihoods of some of the residents, who used the facilities to make vetkoek and sell within their communities.
I have already had a phone call with the Mayor of Johannesburg on the services that the Municipality is obligated to supply to Hostel. Mayor Matongo informed me that will follow up of these issues.
I have also written to the Gauteng MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Lebogang Maile, requesting a face-to-face meeting to discuss how we can speed up the allocation of housing or conversion of the Hostel into family units.
These residents deserve so much more and their right to basic services cannot ever be ignored or delayed any further.
Issued by DA