As part of its Langa Hostel Transformation Programme, the City of Cape Town have formally begun moving residents of the areas ‘hostel system’ in 463 new housing units situated on the Old Depot Site. The project aims to improve the living conditions of those currently living in the Apartheid-era hostels by introducing 1300 units to the area over the next five years.
The still prevalent hostel system has been deemed as being in ‘really bad condition’ by the City, which hopes to officially eradicate that form of housing from Langa in the near future. The land on which the hostels sit will by ‘reconsidered’ for alternative housing as well.
According to the City’s mayoral committee member for Human Settlements, Councillor Benedicta van Minnen, residents would be moved from three existing sites.
“As they move we will be demolishing the old structures so that we are clearing those sites, and by the time the 463 units are occupied we will have cleared enough space to then build phase two. When phase two is complete we will then do the final phase,” she explained.
The move has come with its fair share of criticism from some sectors, critical of the way in which the City are determining who receives the new housing first. Van Minned however labelled those voices as a “small group purporting to represent the community of Langa”, when in fact they had little support amongst residents. She accused the group of bussing in people from other areas in a bid to cause uproar.
“Yesterday when there was a date at court they arrived in an air-conditioned bus, and most of them were certainly not Langa people but people from other parts of the city. They really are a small group bent on furthering their narrow political agenda to the detriment of everyone else,” she accused.
While the City is looking at similar upgrades in other parts of Cape Town as well, van Minnen took the time to express satisfaction with the Langa project.
“We are really pleased with this development and it is looking really nice. It is fantastic to be able to see the dismantling of the old hostel system and see people moving into decent quality accommodation,” she added. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)