File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Fears illegal gold mining camp ’could result in Johannesburg’s own Chernobyl’

By Logan Marshall Time of article published Sep 16, 2021

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Johannesburg – There is major concern that the Zamamphilo gold mining camp in Ward 68 of Riverlea, located in western Johannesburg, poses a serious risk to residents at the camp and surrounding areas such as Horseshoe.

It is situated on top of a Sasol gas pipeline as well as a Transnet fuel pipeline, with a Rand Water pipeline running underneath the camp. Councillor Mpho Phalatse, the DA mayoral candidate for Johannesburg, fears that these miners could get too close to these pipes and accidentally hit them.

’’Should the gas and fuel come into contact, this can result in a fatal explosion for much of the surrounding areas. The illegal miners are underground without the use of professional equipment or engineers,’’ Phalatse said on Thursday.

’’Should these miners get too close to these pipes and accidentally hit them, Johannesburg could see itself dealing with its own Chernobyl.

’’The existence of this camp also affects service delivery for residents of surrounding areas, where illegal electricity connections cause constant power outages for surrounding suburbs. With the illegal mining, water mains have been broken, while heavy metal has been introduced to the environment.

’’The increase in population of this mining camp has also resulted in a surge in crime, where miners often end up shooting each other during the day.

’’It is imperative that the municipality immediately commences with the process of relocating those living in this camp, so that their lives, as well as the lives of residents in surrounding areas, are not put in further danger and that this illegal mining activity also ceases.’’

An urgent debate has been requested on the matter in the Johannesburg City Council, which is set to take place later this month.

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