MEC, mayor finally heed the cries of South Hills residents living in squalor
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Johannesburg – After desperate cries from the South Hills community, officials have finally attended to the issues raised by the residents.
Human Settlements, Urban Planning and Cogta MEC Lebogang Maile and Joburg mayor Jolidee Matongo visited the residents at the South Hills flats on Sunday after a protest march held last Friday.
The residents have been complaining about the quality of their houses and inadequate access to basic services, such as water and electricity. South Hills is a Gauteng government-funded mixed human settlement project, initiated in 2016 in the City of Joburg.
After the mayor’s inspect to the affected area, he concluded that an independent auditor hand picked by the City will be held accountable to respond to the challenges of the people.
“We will appoint independent people who are not developers due to this being a problem of the developers. We have the commitment to attend to problems in a short space of time.
“We are heading into a rainy season and part of the problem is the water. If we do not get to it quicker then we will have more of a problem. So, we are happy that we have seen for ourselves the problem. When the work starts, we will do check-ups to see the progress that has been made. Whatever deadline has been agreed to finishing the work will have to be met,” says Matongo.
Maile highlighted that those responsible for the “negligent” work which is the cause of the damage to the homes will be held accountable and an everlasting solution needs to be found without “cutting corners”.
“We cannot be allergic to be held accountable to our people. We have a responsibility to be accountable respond to the challenges of our people. There’s no perfect government or perfect system.
’’No one knows what the problem is, but we can see there is a problem. Proper assessment needs to take place and then we will come back to the community and resolve those issues.’’
Dali Kurta, a resident in one of the South Hills flats says she will only be happy after action has been taken to solve the leaking water issue in her home.
Apart from the water problem, Kurta explains that many old people live on the first and second floors and cannot access their homes without climbing the steps which is a challenge as some of them struggle to walk.
“In my flat the water flows down from upstairs through the walls which damage the bathroom and the bedrooms. I am 65 years old.
“I live on the first floor. A woman older then I fell twice on the stairs, due to the lack of easy accessibility for the elderly We waited for 22 years for housing and now they put us in homes which are flats and are not old age-friendly,” said Kurta.
A committee in the South Hill community has agreed to set up a meeting with the Department of Housing to discuss the matter.