fbpx

Donate and HELP us spread the News

We need your HELP!, Donate R50 to assist The Bulletin in reporting on your Community News. Click on the donate button on the right. →

Monday, September 28, 2020
Pay
16.1 C
Secunda
More

    Buildings approved by GMM endanger residents.

    It must be noted that the construction of buildings on land where underground mining took place is strictly regulated

    Cracks appeared in the road as well as houses as residents at ext 22 in eMbalenhle rushed out of their houses on Friday.

    The Bulletin visited the area and was shocked to see the number of cracks that appeared in the area. It was clear that something happened underneath the area.

    Cracks in a house in eMbalenhle

    Sasol was contacted by The Bulletin to ask for help with the incident and maybe some clarity, but help was not immediately available as they also had to investigate the cause of the cracks. This was done late yesterday afternoon. Their response will follow later in this report.

    The rumblings continued until late on Friday afternoon after the first noises were heard around 23H00 on Thursday evening.

    Water in the backyard of a house

    Residents were too scared to return to their homes. “Will my house fall in on me?” one resident asked The Bulletin.

    It would appear that this was not the first time that cracks have appeared in eMbalenhle but the location of the previous incident is not known to The Bulletin, nor the date and time.

    What became clear to The Bulletin was that the area had been undermined before and that GMM was fully aware of this. They were told not to build on that particular area by Sasol unless the structure complied to certain regulations or building codes, according to some residents that spoke to a Vice President at Sasol.

    There are some claims that the Department of Planning and Development, under the political leadership of MMC NE Nkosi, was well aware of the problems.

    GMM MMC Planning and Development, Cllr Ethel Nkosi

    A source, that asked to keep his/her identity secret, told The Bulletin that Sasol objected when GMM started construction, but it the objection was rejected. It is very worrying that an important factor such as underground (or previous) activities can be ignored, putting people at risk.

    The roads leading to this area are flooded with sewer and water leaks, also part of MMC Nkosi’s portfolio The Bulletin was told.

    The Bulletin engaged with Sasol several times and Sasol confirmed that the area is on top of previous mining activities.

    After undertaking an investigation, Sasol has established that the surface structures were built on an area where Sasol completed underground coal mining operations. This area is no longer operational and mining activity was completed before these structures were built, Sasol said in their statement to The Bulletin.

    Large cracks on the ground in Ext 22 eMbalenhle

    “It must be noted that the construction of buildings on land where underground mining took place is strictly regulated. Although building plans of structures to be erected on such land must be approved by the local municipality, the Mine Health and Safety Act prescribe additional processes and approvals that local authorities should follow,” the statement further read.

    The Bulletin would also like to applaud Sasol for their quick response to the incident once they became aware of the problem. They immediately acted and sent experts to investigate the cause.

    Cracks leading to a house

    “The mining experts who conducted the investigation are compiling the necessary reports which will provide clarity on the exact cause of the cracks forming and to establish the role that mining activities played,” Sasol said in their statement.

    The Bulletin contacted the municipality but have not yet received a response.

    Here is the full media statement from Sasol:

    Sasol has been informed by members of the eMbalenhle community of forming of cracks in the ground and structures near Extension 22. After undertaking an investigation, Sasol has established that the surface structures were built on an area where Sasol completed underground coal mining operations. This area is no longer operational and mining activity was completed before these structures were built.

    The mining experts who conducted the investigation are compiling the necessary reports which will provide clarity on the exact cause of the cracks forming and to establish the role that mining activities played.

    It must be noted that the construction of buildings on land where underground mining took place is strictly regulated. Although building plans of structures to be erected on such land must be approved by the local municipality, the Mine Health and Safety Act prescribe additional processes and approvals that local authorities should follow.

    We are cooperating with the Govan Mbeki Municipality to establish the nature of the structures and their foundations and whether the applicable building regulations and title deed restrictions dealing with the construction of these structures on undermined land were followed.

    Furthermore, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has also been notified.

    Notwithstanding this regrettable incident and inconvenience to some residents, Sasol Mining will continue to take reasonable measures to establish the cause of the incident and advise the local municipality on appropriate steps to take to address this matter.

    We will keep all stakeholders updated as appropriate as this process unfolds.

    LEAVE A REPLY

    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Buildings approved by GMM endanger residents.