Sewer dam­age costs Matjhabeng mil­lions

The New Age (Free State) - - NEWS - REFILWE MA­GASHULE rE­filwEm@tHE­nEwAGE.Co.zA

THE Matjhabeng mu­nic­i­pal­ity has con­ceded that it is fac­ing a mul­ti­mil­lion-rand prob­lem as a re­sult of dam­age to its sewer net­work where il­le­gal min­ers use its wa­ter in their op­er­a­tions to ex­tract gold.

It has been re­ported that the mu­nic­i­pal­ity needed about R800m to re­pair the dam­age but the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was yet to quan­tify the cost.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity said the dam­age to the sewer sys­tem had a se­vere im­pact on ser­vice de­liv­ery in the area which has a pop­u­la­tion of more than 500 000.

About 30000 il­le­gal min­ers op­er­ate in the Matjhabeng mu­nic­i­pal­ity that in­cor­po­rates the towns of Welkom, Oden­daal­srus, Al­lan­ridge and Hen­nen­man.

“We have had a lot of mines clos­ing down in the past and con­se­quently we have a num­ber of il­le­gal min­ing op­er­a­tions,” mu­nic­i­pal spokesper­son Kgo­jane Matutle said.

Matjhabeng mayor Nkos­in­jani Speel­man has re­ported that il­le­gal min­ers use sewer wa­ter to sep­a­rate the gold from gold-bear­ing rocks.

The scourge of il­le­gal min­ing has over­whelmed the mu­nic­i­pal­ity to a point that Speel­man had sought an in­ter­ven­tion by writ­ing a let­ter to both the MEC of po­lice in the Free State Sam Mashinini and Min­is­ter of Po­lice Fik­ile Mbalula.

Matutle said al­le­ga­tions that mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials were in­volved in the busi­ness of il­le­gal min­ing are “un­founded”.

“We have not had any of our of­fi­cials be­ing in­ves­ti­gated or con­victed in re­la­tion to be­ing part of the il­le­gal min­ing busi­ness,” Matutle said.

He said the mu­nic­i­pal­ity was still await­ing a re­sponse from both Mashinini and Mbalula.

“The per­cent­age of wa­ter loss at Matjhabeng is one of the high­est in the coun­try and se­verely im­pacts on ser­vice de­liv­ery,” Matutle said.

We have not had any of our of­fi­cials be­ing in­ves­ti­gated or con­victed in re­la­tion to be­ing part of the il­le­gal min­ing busi­ness

PIC­TURE: HER­BERT MATIMBA

COSTLY RE­PAIRS: It is re­ported that il­le­gal min­ers are using sewer wa­ter to sep­a­rate gold from the gold-bear­ing rocks re­sult­ing in dam­age to the sewer net­work.

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