City of Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba has warned that if the illegal mining threat in Johannesburg is not taken seriously, there will be deadly consequences.
Mashaba made the statement in response to the Department of Mineral Resources stating there was “no immediate threat to critical infrastructure as has been claimed”.
The claims follow a report by the Sunday Times that Johannesburg is on the brink of a disaster as illegal miners run rampant underneath the city.
Besides instability of the ground created by illegal mining, Transnet and Sasol have 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.
Mashaba said that the latest statement by the Department of Mineral Resources was misleading, and he has been writing to several government departments for help on the matter for over a year – with no response.
Mashaba said the threats posed by illegal mining in the city are:
- Pipelines carrying gas and fuel are at risk, potentially putting residents and city employees in danger.
- Risks of contamination of the city’s water supply.
- Illegal mining has resulted in tremors, which risk the structural integrity of roads, residential communities, and businesses.
- Illegal mining has compromised the pillars that support decommissioned mines, placing a risk of imminent collapse of the mine.
He added that of “significance is 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,” said Mashaba.
“The widespread use of explosives in decommissioned mines could have disastrous consequences for the residents of Johannesburg and may lead to large scale loss of life.”