Dirty hostel gets a clean-up

After years of apparent neglect, residents of Khwezi Hostel in Langa rolled up their collective sleeves on Saturday to clean the rubbish piling up in their immediate vicinity.

It was as part of the ‘Thuma Mina’ campaign inspired by president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Saturday’s campaign was led by Ward 51 Councillor Nomtha Dilima.

Ayanda Mfazwe, hostel chairperson, said: “This hostel is a private property. The councillor saw the appalling conditions in which we live under during a visit in April.

“She was touched and proposed that instead of waiting for the owners to do everything for us, we take to cleaning our place.”

Mfazwe added that the hostel was over populated, that some people had even converted bathrooms into homes.

“The hostel is meant to accommodate 360 families, but is home to 600 families.”

“There are about 3 800 people staying in the hostel,” he said.

He even showed City Vision a geyser hold that has been converted to a room.

Mfazwe said almost all the toilets were non-functional. Residents have turned to using mobile toilets. “It’s a chaos here. The sewage system is strained, because of overcrowding,” he said.

Access to the building is hampered because of the rubbish welling the staircase.

Dilima said she was concerned about the well-being of the people, especially children.

“When disease breaks-out, it affects everybody and spread,” she said.

“While the development of the hostel is being discussed, let’s clean it and make it neat. We encourage the community to own this hostel and look after it and ensure that it is clean.”

While residents cleaned most parts of the hostel, Dilima said some areas were appalling and posed a health risk, and they would have to wait for a cleaning company(to remove).

Mfazwe said residents frequently organise meetings to motivate each other to keep the hostel clean. However, their appeals fall on deaf ears. “We tell people to stop throwing dirty water and food on the steps.”