Community of waterworks informal settlement near Protea Glen in Soweto took to the street, blocking the N12 and Impala road with burning tyres and rocks during a violance service delivery. Picture: Matthews Baloyi

Johannesburg -

This is the state of the province: bloodied residents taking to the streets to demand services from the government - and being shot in the process.

As Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane delivered her official State of the Province address on Monday, the little known community of Comet Village near Boksburg joined the fray.

The province has been rocked by a series of increasingly bloody service protests since the year began.

The people of Comet Village decided they had had enough after a year without electricity and the only water being a trickle from a handful of taps.

By the time police had dispersed the crowd, Grade 12 pupil Ntandazo Ngxinweni lay stunned from a rubber bullet wound to his forehead.

In the past three months, Gauteng has endured 122 violent protests. Mokonyane told the legislature this had cost the province R65 million in damage to public infrastructure.

“We condemn the loss of lives and personal property during such acts. We call on our communities to find reasonable means of engaging the government through the legal channels provided by the constitution, without interfering with the rights of other individuals who want to exercise their right of association and movement.”

One of these areas, Bekkersdal, has been a hotspot of service delivery protests for several months, with residents clashing with police in October and chasing Mokonyane - who notoriously declared that the ANC didn’t want their “dirty votes” - out of the township.

On Monday, Mokonyane singled out Bekkersdal in her address, saying her government had earmarked R1bn to develop a new suburb in Syferfontein, which would accommodate the people of Bekkersdal, who had protested over the province’s failure to provide them with housing.

With the elections scheduled for May 7, Mokonyane also promised that Zola Jabulani Hospital, overdue for five years, would finally be opened in April.

The announcement of the hospital’s opening - now costing three times more than originally budgeted - was condemned as a political ploy by DA provincial leader Jack Bloom.

Mokonyane also promised that Chinese investors would put in R50 billion to create a new upmarket suburb in Modderfontein that would be six times bigger than Sandton.

She also vowed that the Gauteng government would spend almost R200m to buy land and drastically reduce the number of shacks that have sprung up. The provincial government has also budgeted R60m to get rid of the loathed bucket system.

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