Hostel of horrors

It has been more than a year since any government official set foot at the Protea Hostels in Ratanda and with every passing day, living conditions continue to deteriorate.
The buildings are in desperate need of basic maintenance and have over the years been a haven for drug lords and other criminals.
Residents, however, insist that the criminal element is under control and that their main concern has more to do with electricity and sanitation.
Sewerage pipes situated at the side of the buildings have formed a dam from which chickens and other livestock drink. The smell is unbearable at the best of times.
Inside the hostels it is not uncommon to find families of four sharing a single room. Ablution facilities have been vandalised to the point where it almost makes more sense to use the exterior taps (the few that are still in working order) for cleaning purposes.
Most of the buildings have electricity, although residents have learned that this power they get does not come without risk.


Protea Hostel #Ratanda

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“The buildings are old. They will collapse. This place is unsafe and it is only a matter of time before somebody gets hurt,” a resident who wished to remain anonymous in fear of being victimised, told HERAUT.


According to the concerned resident Lesedi Local Municipality had previously offered to repair the buildings, but indicated that work could only start once the buildings have been vacated.

“They said they would erect tents and that we could stay there until the repairs have been done, but we know that they will leave us in those tents for the rest of our lives.”


What is adding further frustration to the people of the Protea Hostels, is that government has built new units right next to where they are staying, but these units have not been completed and are being vandalised.
The roof of one of these units has collapsed and the tiles are strewn all over the ground. Many windows are broken and  water leaks as well sewer blockages are in abundance.
The new units were supposed to have been handed over in the 2015/16 financial year.


LLM was asked to comment on the situation and said in a facebook page a day after our article was published:


“The municipality is well aware of the challenges faced by people residing at the Hostels and the state of the CRUs.

In fact the Executive Mayor in her state of Municipality address alluded to the fact that the municipality will in this financial year fast-track engagements with the Department of Housing about this matter.”




Michael Mentz

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