Acid water: Premier must step in, says DA

2012-10-14 20:42

Johannesburg - Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane must intervene directly to ensure a lasting, cost-effective solution to the acid mine drainage crisis, DA Gauteng spokesperson Jack Bloom said on Sunday.

"The acid mine drainage crisis in Gauteng has been mishandled from the start, characterised by inexcusable delay and policy zig-zags," he said.

Bloom was responding to a Sunday Times report that government planned to pump partially treated acid mine drainage (AMD) directly into the Vaal River.

Competent oversight was needed to ensure the Vaal's water quality did not deteriorate unacceptably, he said.

"Meanwhile, projected costs have escalated alarmingly, more than doubling ... as announced recently by Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa."

Earlier, the weekly reported that underground pumps would be used to pipe water from the central basin - underneath Johannesburg - into a treatment plant where it would be partially cleaned, or neutralised.

This water would then be released into the Vaal, diluted with clean water from the Lesotho Highlands Project to minimise the harmful impact.

"Pumping neutralised [acid mine water] into the Vaal River is a short-term intervention necessary for environmental and socio-economic protection," water affairs spokesperson Sputnik Ratau told the paper.

He said this solution was only temporary, and had been standard practice during mining's peak period.

Water quality would be monitored and regulated, he said.

Molewa gave the treatment plan emergency status two weeks ago.

However, the pumping plan had been approved without studying the potential impact on the river, prompting criticism from environmental groups, the weekly reported.

Around 800km of empty mine tunnels and shafts beneath Johannesburg are filling up with acid mine water.

This water is expected to reach the Gold Reef City theme park by June next year.

Water becomes acidic when in contact with mined rock surfaces.

  • tony.vanniekerk.35 - 2012-10-14 20:57

    We should learn from this. No matter what promises are made by mining companies and oil companies. When it comes to the crunch, nobody takes responsibility and the government is incapable of action. Perfect reason why fracking should not be allowed.

      saintbruce.bruce - 2012-10-15 12:19

      Has anyone in our dear Government actually understood the effect of taking so long to do anything ? Gold Reef City museum is the least of our worries. Once the water gets up to just below the roads in Johannesburg, the power trips out for the whole city centre! All Eskoms electrical cables are in tunnels under the city just above the old mine workings. The implications of this are: Major banks head offices and system servers are located here. Major mining houses are located here. If the city comes to a standstill economically who will pay the dear Premier's Salary? Can't the ANC Cadres actually think beyond their next lunch? Everyone wants to blame the mines but I bet they applied for decant permits and these are still on a desk under old KFC food wrappings awaiting an interpreter or consultant to act on! When Khulubase [big boy] Zuma stuffed up Aurora Mines, the first thing they saved on was pumping costs of the mine water. Cause and Effect dear Premier. Plain and simple.

  • simon.carter.5836711 - 2012-10-14 21:00

    Yes, step in and drown

  • sihlangu.hokweni - 2012-10-14 21:03

    Is there a premier in GAUTENG? REALLY? I thought that there's ONLY a cANCer TUMOUR.

  • beverly.young3 - 2012-10-14 21:04

    GOOD GOD! have we all gone mad? Acid mine drainage poisons downstream waters, in many cases to the point where nothing other than bacteria can survive. Many river systems and former mine sites are totally inhospitable to aquatic life, and seldom to any form of recognisable life. What us this person talking about? I say again. Jesus wept.

  • busisiwe.kubeka1 - 2012-10-14 21:05

    Nationalise those mines

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-14 21:17

      How does that help solve the problem of truly poisonous water that both local and national govt have been warned about for the last 15 years, with stepped up warnings and reports over the last 3 years? Not to mention that a lot of these poisons are coming from mines shutdown long ago.

      george.slade.161 - 2012-10-14 21:28

      Actually Nationalising Mines full of acid water is a great idea. Malema +The Unions can reemploy the Fired miners and teach them all to swim underwater !

      yrhonour.honour - 2012-10-15 11:16

      @busisiwe.kubeka1 - you excel in stupidity!

  • hannah.p.mostert - 2012-10-14 21:11

    It's no use asking ANC to do anything! Can the DA send in professionals to do the job if they petition and get enough votes?

  • jmatebane - 2012-10-14 21:18

    I say. Pump the water out and use it to create hydro energy dams. Eskom is struggling.

      Madoqua - 2012-10-14 22:53

      By gods! You solved the perpetual motion problem! Free energy at last.

  • bongani.nsele.58 - 2012-10-14 21:31

    your revered investors got the loot and hightailed it back to europe, now we sit with acid water mess for this government to solve.....and some peckerwoods still think that these type of investors are are the best thing to have happened in our country...nxa

      joe.smit.549 - 2012-10-15 04:21

      And the cANCer got their tax money! Why don't they contribute to the mess?

      deon.jansevanrensburg.58 - 2012-10-15 06:27

      And the mining houses paid a levy towards government to cater specifically towards this eventuality yet in the last 18 years none of that money was utlised for this purpose. The stripping of mines such as Aurora and ERPM by their new BEE owners also makes no impact on the situation does it? Their pumps disappeared, no water was pumped and the domino effext started. Really clever comment you gave.

      bongani.nsele.58 - 2012-10-15 09:48

      rubbish this acid water has been with us for hundreds of years...can you drink that water in the Kimberely hole fool, this did not start 18 years ago..wake up...even these mine dumps are a health hazards, and to your warped mind this is also the fault of the ANC

      Andrea - 2012-10-15 11:33

      And I suppose you will be blaming Apartheid for this as well? Much like our Premier, not very many people here (you) understand the magnitude of the problem.

  • brettcch - 2012-10-14 21:35

    Welcome to the ANC vision for SA.

  • Shaun McDermott - 2012-10-15 07:23

    i have a solution to the problem.... Blame Apartheid.

  • johleneh - 2012-10-15 07:42

    Tony Turton warned against this treatment plan from the very beginning, its NOT necessary for the enviromental impact, it's necessary to SAVE MONEY, money that they'd rather use to line their pockets than ensure we have sustainable, clean drinking water for the future. Bumwipes, let THEM drink this water and see how long they last. idiots!

  • dewalds3 - 2012-10-15 08:28

    The ANC loves emergency plans - 'Only the tenderpreneurs can save us!' And the tax payer can use Vaseline..

  • Thato Moola Mollo - 2012-10-15 08:32

    all these comments are so negative. The biggest problems in our country come for all these negative people! go to Greece and suffer and leave us patriotic south african's to fix the country we love! idiots.

      raymond.buis.3 - 2012-10-15 10:07

      By fix do you mean make worse,because all they have been doing is.making it worse. Idiot right back at you.

      raymond.buis.3 - 2012-10-15 10:18

      By fix do you mean make worse,because all they have been doing is.making it worse. Idiot right back at you.

      Andrea - 2012-10-15 11:35

      So start fixing please, I'd love to see it happen.

  • my10cent - 2012-10-15 08:32

    The only Acid the Premier knows, is the stuff she sniffs every morning when she wakes up!!!

  • quartus.vanzyl - 2012-10-15 08:43

    So, we take a scarce resource, clean water, (which we buy from Lesotho), mix it with acid water, and then pump it into the Vaal river? I am missing something here.

      Andrea - 2012-10-15 11:36

      Ja ... who got the tender for the pumping?

  • mshiniboys - 2012-10-15 09:19

    why should they be told by the DA to do that? Are they not educated enough to see critical situations?.Regardless, I think Nomvula is beautiful.

  • harald.voney - 2012-10-15 09:31

    Truth is that the ANC have known about this for about 14 years, and did nothing... in fact, if they had maintained a standard, it wouldn't be as bad as this (mine trestment etc etc), now the chickens have come home to roost... Even over the past 2 years when this was escalated to an emergency, nothing has happened... Some clever business people even offered to clean this mess up for free, and sell purified water back to municipalities at less than they buy it from Rand Water; but noooo, owners of that project were too white...

  • jacqui.daanevanrensburg - 2012-10-15 09:55

    How long have they been busy with this problem?.

      Andrea - 2012-10-15 11:38

      Oh, I can remember seeing this on Carte Blanche a few years ago already. But we are working on Africa time, please, what's the bloody hurry?

  • rory.audie - 2012-10-15 12:51

    Minister sputnik clearly has her head in space over this issue?

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