It has been five years since the family-unit flats were built, but they were not allocated to anyone.
The dispute is said to be between the nearby hostel dwellers and uMkhonto we Sizwe veterans, who demanded the flats be given to them.
While the city council was still deciding, the flats were vandalised. Now the municipality has set aside another – undisclosed – amount for repairs.
City council spokesperson Msa-wakhe Mayisela confirmed the flats were vandalised. He could not give a reason or say who was meant to benefit when the project started.
He said after the vandalism, the municipality decided to start repairs before they were occupied.
“The supply chain management process of appointing a service provider to do the repairs is under way and it is anticipated occupation will happen by the end of December,” he said.
There were about 12 blocks of triple-storey flats which stood a few metres from the hostel.
Despite security guards at the entrance, windows, doors and water pipes in most blocks were broken. The grass was also overgrown.
When the project started it was meant to benefit families who were living in the hostel for more than 20 years.
Hostel dwellers who spoke to the Sunday Tribune said they were shocked to see houses standing empty while they needed them desperately.
They maintained they would not allow the flats to be handed over until the beneficiary list was resolved.
“This is a mess created by the municipality because they want to sidelines us to benefit those with political connections.
“We were told there was a parallel list, which we were not aware of. It is sad because there are people who have been waiting more than 20 years in the hostel, but they might find themselves waiting longer if it is given to the wrong people.
“We want answers from the municipality as to why people who registered for houses a long time ago have been left out of the project,” said a hostel dweller who identified himself as Zondi.
Opposition parties said the municipality was negligent.
IFP ward councillor Mbangeni Mjadu said there was a list submitted to the city council before the project began.
“The city council should have used the same list when the project was completed. The money being spent on security since 2015, when the houses were completed, is ridiculous.
“There is no budget for repairs because the project was completed.
“The budget they now intend using for repairs was for another phase of the project. The municipality has the list and houses must be allocated accordingly, to avoid a backlash,” Mjadu said.
DA spokesperson on housing Sthembiso Ngema said the saga was a sign of poor planning and management by the city council.
“It is sad that this is happening within the municipality. It stinks of corruption,” he said.