The R59 highway near Meyerton remains a no-go area as a protest over lack of service delivery, which started on Thursday last week, continues unabated.
Residents from Sicelo informal settlement, near Meyerton, in the Democratic Alliance-run Midvaal local municipality, have been demanding houses, saying Gauteng human settlements MEC Paul Mashatile made promises to them that he has not fulfilled.
Motorists are forced to now make use of the R82 (old Vereeniging Road), resulting in traffic being backed up since the start of this week.
Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, Gauteng police spokesperson Kay Makhubela said the highway remained closed.
“One minute the police manage to reopen the road, but before long, the protesters come back and barricade it again.
“Our police officers will remain in the area until such time that calm is fully restored,” Makhubela said.
During the protest last week, one motorist was attacked and his personal belongings, including cellphones and laptop, were taken from him.
Meanwhile, the department of human settlements again denied claims made by the DA that it is stoking violent service delivery protests in the local municipality in question.
Mashatile said he was shocked at what he described as “malicious” accusations. He said the accusations were a demonstration of how low the DA can go in trying to save face when they find themselves out of depth when it comes to service delivery.
“It is startling that the DA would stoop so low as to use malice, distortion of facts and spread misinformation instead of owning up to its failures,” said Mashatile.
He said the department has a plan which it has been working on to address the challenges of the destitute people under the DA-led Midvaal council.
“It is not the department that promised people the land which has already been earmarked for development to be occupied, but rather the DA’s failure to meet its promises and misleading people,” he said.
The MEC said these accusations are tantamount to undermining the work of government and progress made in developing the area.
He said a year ago he visited Sicelo Shiceka, Mamello, Khayelitsha, Boitumelo and Pills Farm and told them the department has five projects in the area that will yield over 3 300 housing opportunities which will benefit them. – email@example.com