Johannesburg is on the brink of a disaster as illegal miners run rampant underneath the city.
According to a report by the Sunday Times, despite the risk the government is refusing to help city officials who have requested assistance.
Transnet and Sasol have also come forward to warn of the potential looming disaster as illegal miners are using explosives to blast rock underground and are coming “within metres” of gas and fuel lines under Johannesburg.
“Should one of those lines be damaged, experts say, everything within a 300-metre radius will be incinerated,” stated the report.
There is also the risk of parts of the city collapsing due to the network of tunnels being made by the miners.
A 140km stretch of tunnels runs underneath areas such as the M1 highway and FNB Stadium.
The report stated that illegal miners have come very close to Transnet pipelines, and in certain cases it was as close as 30cm from the pipes being struck.
However, the national government “appears to have done little to address the issue”.
Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba has asked the government for help to deal with the miners, but they have not responded.
“God forbid something happens because the disaster management teams will stand no chance in trying to control it,” said Mashaba about a pipeline being hit.
Illegal mining and other activities are a major problem in South Africa, and extend into many facets of daily life.
Another scourge which the government and cities are dealing with is illegal electricity connections, which have claimed many lives already.
In 2017, the situation reached boiling point in Tshwane as residents clashed with those living in informal settlements who were using illegal power connections – resulting in their legitimate power supply being cut off.