Where are the Dalton Hostel Traders Millions?

Issued by Cllr Sakhile Mngadi – DA eThekwini Councillor
08 May 2024 in Press Statements

The Democratic Alliance in eThekwini will write to the Chairperson of the Municipal Public Accounts Committee (MPAC) of the city and the MEC of CoGTA in KwaZulu-Natal requesting an investigation into the disappearance of at least R35 million that was originally budgeted for the Dalton Hostel Skin Trader Stalls at Dalton Hostel, near Umbilo.

During a recent oversight visit with DA KZN Premier Candidate Chris Pappas (See here, here & here) , it was revealed that the eThekwini Municipality removed traders from their historic building under the guise of renovating their stalls and workshop. The city allocated R25 million in 2018 and another R10 million in 2020 for this purpose.

Despite more than R30 million spent, during our oversight we were met with walls with no roof, windows or doors, while the few electrical fittings had been stripped and looted, presumably by copper thieves. The situation rendered the skeletal structure as nothing more than a facility for members of the public to relieve themselves.

In a bizarre response to the oversight visit, ANC Exco Whip, Councillor Nkosenhle Madlala, condemned the visit and addressed everything under the sun except the accountability of where the millions originally spent disappeared to. Instead, in true ANC style, he made more promises that the Dalton project would be implemented in July this year as it was budgeted for in the 2024/25 financial year.

These are the same promises made twice before with millions thrown into a project that has not progressed. Instead, traders have been stuffed into a makeshift container building with no running toilet facilities which raises serious health concerns.

Ultimately what were once highly profitable businesses enabling primarily rural traders access to an urban economy and in doing so being able to send their children to school and put food on the table has been compromised by an uncaring government obsessed with self-enrichment.

The Dalton project serves as yet another reminder of the calibre of leadership at the helm in this failing city. However, on the 29th of May traders in Dalton, frustrated residents of this city as well as others across the province will have an opportunity to bring in a new accountable DA government that puts small formal and informal business first to ensure a thriving local economy and the creation of jobs.