[09-05-2016] AFTER 20 years of waiting and a decade of mass protest action, the residents of Boiketlong finally have hope of a better life and a reason to smile! One of the biggest townships in Sebokeng will have over 12 thousand houses built in the area. Gauteng MEC for Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements (CoGTA), Paul Mashatile made this announcement to the residents during a special visit to the area on Friday.
MEC Mashatile’s visit to the area ended a prolonged service delivery protest by Boiketlong residents who were demanding houses, electricity and increased access to water. Residents and community leaders had been on a three-week long protest which barricaded one of the busiest roads in the Emfuleni Local Municipality, Waterdal Road, which connects Sebokeng to Vereeniging and other industrial hubs.
Protesters had clashed with police, disrupted train schedules and placed huge rocks, debris and burning tyers in the middle of the road in a stand-off which severely inconvenienced Sebokeng residents and businesses alike. MEC Mashatile was in Boiketlong to launch the mega project which will cost government an estimated R1 billion rand.
Speaking to residents who had filled a white marquee tent, MEC Mashatile said, “Today we are launching a mixed development mega city project with more than 12 thousand houses when completed.I am hoping by the time the project is completed we would have covered everybody.” MEC Mashatile said the project will develop the area with housing, roads, electricity, sanitation, schools, clinics and shopping complexes.
The housing development is expected to be a turn-key project and 60 percent of the houses to be built in the area will be RDP houses given to qualifying beneficiaries for free, 30 percent will be FLISP (Government and banking institutions offer loans to applicants who also contribute an agreed portion in the agreement) and the remaining 10 percent will be CRUs (Community Rental Units).
Giving a go ahead to Inkanyeli, one of two developers contracted to the project, MEC Mashatile said the project will start immediately. “Let the work begin as the people of Boiketlong have been waiting for too long,” he said. Emfuleni Local Municipality Executive Mayor Cllr. Mahole Mofokeng told residents he was happy that the day of the official launch of the project had arrived, after numerous meetings and challenges in his engagement with residents and community leaders of the area.
“Together with the Project Steering Committee, of which five members are community leaders of Boiketlong, government will work hard to ensure that the project is a success,” he said. The launch of the housing project comes after a meeting between MEC Mashatile, Emfuleni Local Municipality Executive Mayor Cllr. Mahole Mofokeng and residents and community leaders of Boiketlong.
Malema Vilakazi a member of the steering committee and the community leader in the area addressed the people as he shared his sentiments on the commencement of the project to develop their area. “Our hearts are broken because this project comes after prolonged battles, struggles and protests which resulted in death, disappearance and prosecution and conviction of residents who were part of our mission to have Boiketlong developed,” he said.
The Boiketlong protest is one the stories which local and mainstream media has followed for many years, attending every protest to highlight the issues of the residents.
During May in 2013, residents staged a violent service delivery protest demanding houses, electricity and increased access to water.
It was in that protest that the house of ward Councillor Maselloane Nthebe was burned down, together with her two cars and other property she owned. Four residents, later known as the “Boiketlong Four” were arrested, prosecuted and convicted of arson and public violence. They are currently out on bail pending their appeal at the South Gauteng High Court.
In yet another violent protest in February 2014, residents came out in their numbers to demand houses – and it was in that protest that one resident, Lerata Tladi (26) was shot dead by unknown gunmen. A vocal community leader who was always at the forefront of service delivery protests in Boiketlong, Papi Tobias (48) disappeared in February and has been missing ever since.
Sedibeng Municipality Human Settlements MMC Veli Mcera, Emfuleni Municipality Mayor Simon Mofokeng, Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Paul Mashatile and Emfuleni Municipality Human Settlements MMC Sello Pitso seen during the launch of the Boiketlong Mega Project, a mixed housing development in Sebokeng, in the Vaal.
Sedibeng Municipality Human Settlements MMC Veli Mcera, Emfuleni Municipality Mayor Simon Mofokeng, Gauteng Human Settlements MEC Paul Mashatile and Emfuleni Municipality Human Settlements MMC Sello Pitso unveil the board of the Boiketlong Mega Project, a mixed housing development in Sebokeng, in the Vaal.
Issued on behalf of Emfuleni Local Municipality
Enquiries: Lebo Mofokeng
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