A housing project worth more than R51.6-million was launched at the Skierlik informal settlement in the North West, the provincial department of human settlements said on Tuesday.
The construction of 500 houses outside Swartruggens would be done in phases, with the first hand-over on July 24, spokesperson Lesiba Kgwele said.
The beneficiaries would mostly be farmworkers who were evicted from farms in the Koster and Swartruggens communities.
Some farmers opposed to the project applied for a court interdict because they did not want an influx of people into the area.
They lost their battle however, and the project was given the go-ahead a few weeks back following an environmental impact assessment.
Construction was expected to be completed by September.
Provincial minister for human settlements, Desbo Mohono, called on the beneficiaries to treasure their houses and take good care of them.
She said action would be taken against those who built shacks next to the houses or used them for tuck shops or business rentals.
“The department will not hesitate to evict them and reallocate the housing subsidy to those in need,” she said at the project launch.
An appeal to rename the housing settlement to Mazista was made by Cosatu provincial secretary Solly Phetoe.
He said the name Skierlik was reminiscent of racial oppression and the killing of innocent people by shooter John Nel.
Nel (19) was sentenced to 169 years in jail in 2008 after killing four people and wounding several others in a January 14 shooting spree at the informal settlement. — Sapa