Turning hostels into residential units

13 May 2011

A R40-million project in Limpopo province that is turning former hostels into low-cost residential units provides a framework for transforming the approximately 2 000 public hostels in South Africa, says Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale.

The Seshego Community Residential Units project was “the first of its kind in this province”, Sexwale said at the official launch of the project at Seshego outside Polokwane on Wednesday.

The project targets residents who earn a monthly income of up to R3 500, with rentals ranging from R400 for a one-bedroom unit to R800 for a two-bedroom unit.

Half of the 189 Seshego units are already complete, with occupation due to start once all units are complete.

Sexwale said the properties would be transferred to beneficiaries through two housing programmes, the Enhanced Extended Discount Benefit Scheme and the Registration and Endorsement Programme.

“These low-cost housing properties are registered and endorsed to avoid sale or letting before expiry of a period of eight years from the date on which the property was acquired.”

Sexwale said the government still needed to address approximately 2 000 public hostels in the country. “This programme therefore provides a coherent framework for dealing with the many different forms of existing public sector residential accommodation.”

Sexwale said that the provincial local government and housing department would own the units, and would be responsible for ensuring that a proper property management and rent collection system was in place.

“Property management may be outsourced to a private company,” he added.

Provincial housing spokeswoman Dieketseng Diale said that most of the former Seshego hostel dwellers would benefit from the project. “The project has employed 245 locals, employing skilled and unskilled labourers comprising 59 women, 146 men and 40 youth.”

Diale said the two-bedroom units could accommodate two individual tenants sharing, but could also accommodate an entire family. “Each design gets a garden for urban agriculture and recreation,” she said, adding: “When completed, the project will include a clinic and a recreation centre.”

After the launch, Sexwale handed over 1 731 title deeds to beneficiaries of various RDP and low-cost houses from around the province

Source: BuaNews