ILLEGAL MINING JOHANNESBURG : NATIONAL GOVERNMENT’S RECKLESS DENIAL OF IMMINENT DISASTER
Executive Mayor of Johanesburg, Herman Mashaba expressed “great shock” at comments made by the Department of Mineral Resources, this past week, regarding the imminent threat faced by residents as a result of illegal mining with the use of explosives near highways, Transnet bulk fuel supply and SASOL gas pipelines travelling across the City.
The Department said there was “…no immediate threat to critical infrastructure as has been claimed”.
The Mayor said he had twice written to the Minister of Mineral Resources, Gwede Mantashe, requesting his support and intervention with regard to the matter, as well as instructing his Department to provide the city with specific measures, plans and interventions to avert this pending disaster by 3 April 2018. There was never any feedback to any of these requests. This follows several similar attempts to engage with the former Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane
Mashaba said the threats posed by illegal mining activity included the contamination of the city’s water supply, the safety of city employees working along the nearby pipelines carrying gas and fuel, compromising the pillars that support the decommissioned mines which placed additional risk on the physical structure upon which the pipelines rest, and the imminent collapse of the mine.
The Mayor was particularly concerned about the Nasrec precinct where the pipelines intersects with SASOL gas lines. Investigations have revealed that if illegal mining activity continues within these old mining shafts, the entire FNB Nasrec precinct, including the iconic FNB stadium, could go down in ruins as a result of unstable earth directly underneath the area.
Mashaba said: “While we note the move to further investigate the matter by the Department, given national government’s record on the matter so far, the proof will be in the pudding. More so, what is needed is decisive action to resolve the problem. This is the action the department must engage in. The time has come for national government to do the right thing, take this matter seriously and decisively act to protect our residents.”