Talana hostel dwellers continue to live in shocking squalor

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Residents of the Talana hostel in Tzaneen, Limpopo, are calling on the local municipality to expedite the delivery of essential services to their community.

The hostel gained notoriety in 2020 when it was revealed that the construction tender had been fraudulently awarded, resulting in the provision of inadequate shacks instead of proper housing structures. Since the handover of the substandard shacks, the lives of residents have seen little improvement.

David Motseo, a resident living alone in one of the shacks, expressed gratitude for having a roof over his head but highlighted the countless challenges faced at the controversial Talana hostel.

These challenges include rodent infestations, unsanitary ablution facilities, and a lack of electricity. Motseo described the hardships, saying, “Life is very hard, nothing we can do. There are small rats in the house coming from the dustbin. They want to eat there.”

With just over one thousand residents calling Talana home, many have voiced concerns about various issues. Parents have raised the lack of pre-school facilities for their children, adding to the challenges faced by the community.

Comfort Molapisane, another resident, highlighted the difficulties faced with electricity and water supply, explaining, “The challenge of electricity is too hard for us, and water is making our life hard. We have to go to the bushes to fetch some wood there.”

Uproar over Limpopo housing project in Talana outside Tzaneen:

Despite the completion of a Special Investigation Unit’s (SIU) probe into the R15.3 million tender for the Talana hostel two years ago, the corruption scandal still weighs heavily on the minds of many residents.

Local councillor Ronny Shai expressed disappointment in the delayed delivery of promised toilets, stating, “Even myself, I don’t have hope. I remember last time we met at The Ranch hotel, he said he would bring the toilets since the SIU probe, but people are still sharing facilities.”

In stark contrast to Talana, another hostel in Seshego, Polokwane, has undergone significant improvements. The residential complex, consisting of 189 units, was transformed from shanty dwellings following the award of a multi-million rand tender by the provincial Human Settlements Department to a construction company. Residents in this secure complex report the provision of necessary services.

However, at Talana, residents living across the three blocks of shacks are slowly losing hope that their situation will improve. They continue to urge the local municipality to prioritise their community’s needs and accelerate service delivery to address the ongoing challenges they face.

VIDEO: Minister Sisulu makes changes at Housing Agency following Tzaneen shack debacle