Illegal mining forces road closure in JHB

By Doug Mattushek - 12 July 2019Views : 304

Illegal miners in Johannesburg have destabilised a stretch up road, forcing authorities to close it and rebuild.

The damaged road, Iridium Street between Randfontein Road and Penny Road, has been damaged due to the explosive illegal miners are using beneath its surface. Assessment and repairs estimated to take 11 months.

"We were forced to shut the road because it has become a ticking time bomb," JHB Mayor Herman Mashaba told TimesLIVE.

"We found that people were using dangerous explosives just underneath the surface, compromising the road structure and the foundations of the road. The surface has begun to sag, causing pooling of water when it rains which further compromises the road.

"If something happens I will treat it as premeditated murder and not culpable homicide because the national government has been warned.

"It would normally cost between R25m and R30m for this length of road to be refurbished, but we don’t know how much it will cost until we know the extent of the damage.

"I have spent the last two years pleading with national government to help us with the illegal mining.

"We sent a forensic team there [Tuesday] to start shutting down the illegal mining activity. But we are unable to stop illegal mining on our own. Compounding the problem is that people conducting the operations are undocumented, they are processing the minerals and shipping them out the country illegally. The country is losing out because of it."

Henrika Ninham, a Sibanye Stillwater spokesperson, revealed that 120 illegal miners were arrested in 2018, representing about a tenth of the amount arrested in 2017.