“One of the longest service delivery protest actions in Gauteng has been suspended this afternoon following intensive negotiations between the province, municipality and community leaders last night,” spokesman Victor Moreriane said in a statement.
“The protest action in New Village informal settlement in Sedibeng area was mainly over the lack of formal low-cost housing in the area and was sustained for nine days by angry residents.”
Roads in the area were blocked with burning tyres and stones as residents expressed their dissatisfaction with level of service delivery and government.
Moreriane said the breakthrough in ending the protest came after a high level meeting, convened by human settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo, and including a senior delegation from the Sedibeng district municipality.
After the meeting, Mamabolo indicated that the department had already built 145 houses and would still have to find ways to address the existing housing backlog of 165 houses in the area.
“We have in principle agreed that the housing backlog in the area is not too high and it is possible to find a solution within a reasonable period.
“We have therefore agreed that the 90 families which are approved for housing should receive immediate priority and plans for implementing phase two to accommodate everyone should also start immediately,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mamabolo met community leaders of Boiketlong township, which also falls under the Sedibeng district municipality. The community had also been protesting over the lack of electricity.
He said the department would be working with Eskom and the Sedibeng district municipality to prioritise electrification of the area.
“We are proud that we have been able to persuade this community to stop violent protest action and to engage in peaceful discussions with government.
“They have been co-operating and their patience will soon benefit the community who has been living without electricity for almost 20 years,” he said.