Limpopo hostels turned into double-storey units

Thursday, May 12, 2011
Sydney Masinga

Polokwane - Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale has officially launched a R40 million project aimed at turning former hostels into residential units in Limpopo.

Sexwale, together with the Premier Cassel Mathale, launched the Seshego Community Residential Units (CRUs) in Seshego outside Polokwane on Wednesday.

"The Seshego CRU is the first of its kind in this province and will cost the government R40 million to build," said Sexwale.

Sexwale told community members that the project targeted residents who earned a monthly income of up to R3 500.

He said the rentals would range between R400 for a one-bedroom unit and R800 for a two-bedroom unit.

He said the properties were 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," said Sexwale.

The minister added that 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," he said.

Sexwale added that the provincial local government and housing department would own the CRUs 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," said Sexwale.

Provincial housing spokeswoman Dieketseng Diale said most of the former Seshego hostel dwellers would benefit from the project.

"As part of eradicating poverty, the project has employed 245 locals, employing skilled and unskilled labourers comprising of 59 women, 146 men and 40 youth," said Diale.

Diale said half of the 189 Seshego CRUs were already complete and that occupation would start once all units are completed.

"When completed, the project will include a clinic and a recreation centre," she said.

Diale said the two-bedroom units were part of higher density double-story buildings that two individual tenants could share, but that could also accommodate an entire family.

"Each design gets a garden for urban agriculture and recreation," she added.
After the launch, Sexwale handed over 1 731 title deeds to different beneficiaries of RDP and low-cost houses from around the province.