Deputy Public Protector Advocate Kevin Malunga has criticised the eThekwini Municipality of failing to improve the living conditions at the Glebelands Hostel in Umlazi, south of Durban.

Malunga has made another visit to the hostel to check on the progress of the implementation of recommendations made by the Public Protector.

The notorious Glebelands Hostel claimed the lives of more than 100 people since 2014. More than 20 000 people are living in the facility meant to accommodate 12 000 people.

The public protector in a June 2017 report found that the city, the Police, IPID, and government had failed hostel residents.

The city was meant to, among others, improve access control, poor lighting and implement other security measures, but residents say not much has changed.

“Things are getting worse every day here. We lost hope now because they come and go, leaving us here. It’s like we are living in the bush.”

Malunga stopped short of saying the city officials were lying about what has been done so far in a recent action plan report submitted to the public protector.

“The city’s report is not the true reflection of what is on the ground. The residents themselves have confirmed that there is not much of improvement. Some allege that things have become worse since we started investigating Glebelands hostel. So it’s very disappointing.”

Both Malunga and the Human Rights Commission expressed dismay about the reasons put forward by the eThekwini Mayor Zandile Gumede for her absence from the visit. The SHRC’s Mohamed Ameermia says that the municipality gives safety concerns as an excuse.

“And when we come here, they give us an excuse that they can’t come here because it’s very dangerous. We are here. We want to talk to the people. There is nothing dangerous about it.”

Malunga and the SAHRC have vowed to put more pressure on the municipality to implement the roadmap which was agreed on.