Sewer damage costs Matjhabeng millions
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
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.