AFTER 20 years of waiting and a decade of protesting, the residents of Boiketlong finally have reason to smile.
This was after it announced that a development project will bring over 12 000 new houses to the kasi in the Vaal, south of Joburg.
Paul Mashatile, Gauteng MEC for co-operative governance, traditional affairs and human settlements, made the announcement during a special visit to the area on Friday.
MEC Mashatile said the project would cost an estimated R1 billion.
He said the project will bring housing, roads, electricity, sanitation, schools, clinics and shopping complexes to the area.
Mashatile said: “Today we are launching a mixed development project. Upon completion, the area will have more than 12 000 new house,” said the MEC.
Mashatile said the project would start immediately.
“Let the work begin.
“The people of Boiketlong have waited for far too long,” he said.
Simon Mofokeng, Emfuleni Municipality’s executive mayor, told residents he was happy see the project get off the ground.
Malema Vilakazi, a local community leader, said the launch of the projects was bittersweet.
“Our hearts are broken.
“This project comes after prolonged battles, struggles and protests.
“Our fight for this area to be developed resulted in the death, disappearance and prosecution of fellow residents,” he said.
The residents of Boiketlong have recently been on a three-week protest, which saw Waterdaal Road, one of the busiest roads in the Vaal, barricaded.
The residents were demanding houses, electricity and better access to water.
During the protest, angry residents clashed with cops and placed huge rocks and burning tyres in the middle of the road.
The Boiketlong protest is one the stories which Daily Sun has been following for many years, attending every protest to highlight the issues of the residents.
Community leader Papi Tobias (48), who was always at the forefront of protests in the area, disappeared in February.
He disappeared six days after a heated public meeting about housing. He is yet to be found.