Premier of Gauteng Nomvula Mokonyane smiles just before delivering her address during the opening of the legislature. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu.

Johannesburg - The new upmarket suburb in Modderfontein, east of Joburg, will be six times the size of Sandton.

The new suburb will go up after a R50 billion investment by the Chinese in partnership with the Gauteng government.

Details of the project came out during Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane’s State of the Province address in the legislature yesterday.

She said the new development would be built in Heartlands, Modderfontein, together with other developments, including the construction of malls, shopping complexes, sporting facilities and various other economic hubs aimed at creating job opportunities, particularly for young people.

She said the R50bn would be spread over a period of 15 years.

“This is a great investment. The development of Heartland in Modderfontein will be six times the size of Sandton. The Chinese government has spent R50bn on this project.”

The project followed Mokonyane’s visit to various Chinese cities in July 2012, during which she and her delegation signed various agreements to facilitate the sharing of skills in the areas of IT and governance.

A number of Chinese citizens arrived in Gauteng after the visit to open businesses.

Mokonyane promised that her government would spend billions to set up more new suburbs in other places near Joburg, and also for the people of Bekkersdal, who were living on dolomitic land.

She said a new suburb would also be established near the Lion Park on the way to Lanseria, but did not say how much her government would spend on that development.

Mokonyane also said the Gauteng government would spend almost R200 million to buy land and drastically reduce the number of shacks that have sprung up.

She said the ANC’s 20 years at the helm in Gauteng had brought many changes, including providing women with title deeds to their own houses.

“One of the tragedies of apartheid, among many, was to entrench the 99-year leasehold that deprived Africans of property rights wherein women were regarded as minors and could never dream of being property owners.

“To reverse this situation, we had to come up with new housing interventions that sought to deal with the huge demand that existed then.

“Having travelled this journey over 20 years together with our people, notwithstanding the challenges we face, we can boldly say ‘Gauteng is the better place to live in’ and, therefore, we have a good story to tell, and it needs to be told.”

She said her government had spent R339m since 2009 to purchase land and create new settlements in the province. That land had yielded 64 920 new housing opportunities.

“In the 2013/14 financial year, the department will conclude the purchasing of eight parcels of land to the amount of R181m, measuring some 91 188 hectares in extent.”

Mokonyane said the R181m would be used to formalise the 405 informal settlements found in Gauteng – 180 of which are in Joburg, 158 in Tshwane and 119 in Ekurhuleni.

“As part of restoring the dignity of the people, we have a programme with a budget of R60m to eradicate the (remnants of the) bucket system.”

Mokonyane also said her government had taken a decision to convert single-sex dormitories, commonly called hostels, into family units.

“It is pleasing to report that phases 1 and 2 in most of these hostels have been completed, but no allocation of beneficiaries has occurred due to non- co-operation to pay a minimum rental by intended beneficiaries,” Mokonyane said.

She said rent payment was essential for the upkeep of the units.

“Those who are unable or not willing to pay rent must present themselves for application to be included in the housing demand database.”

She said the number of HIV-infected people in the province had dropped substantially.

Mokonyane also promised to spend almost R500m to improve various health facilities in the province. - The Star