Team to investigate slurry flood near Ulundi

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
Minister Barbara Creecy has been asked to task her department to help assess a slurry spill in the rivers of northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Minister Barbara Creecy has been asked to task her department to help assess a slurry spill in the rivers of northern KwaZulu-Natal.

A team of environmental management inspectors has been deployed to support the investigation into the spill of over 1.5million litres of polluted mine waste water into river systems in northern KwaZulu-Natal.

This comes after the province’s MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Ravi Pillay’s call for technical support from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment in dealing with the report of over 1.5 million litres of tailing materials flowed from a burst slurry dam at the Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC) into nearby rivers, and surrounding land, on December 24.

A photo of MEC Ravi Pillay
MEC Ravi Pillay

“The team will support the ongoing efforts to address the impacts of the spill that is affecting rural communities and the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi reserve as well as posing a risk to the iSimangiliso Wetland Park,” said the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy.

According to a media statement from ZAC the spill was caused by the failure of the slurry pond end wall.

“This slurry pond end wall was newly installed, following the loading out of the dry slurry during November 2021.

A further aggravating factor in the end wall failure was the heavy rain fall four days prior to the failure – 66mm,” said ZAC’s environmental superintendent Msawenkosi Buthelezi.

Upon receiving a report on the failure, ZAC said, mine management immediately began with plugging the pond and initiated a clean-up operation, both manually and mechanically. T

he company said these clean-up operations would continue as guided by the relevant legislation.

“To assess possible damage caused to surrounding host communities, ZAC is engaging the relevant local community forums and structures to identify any such damage and discuss resolutions thereof.”

ZAC, which has been producing and washing anthracite in the Okhukho area of Zululand for the last 38 years, is located 25km from Nongoma, and 40km from Ulundi, in the heart of rural Zululand.

Areas of interest bordering the mining right area are the Mfolozi River, and the Mfolozi section of the Hluhluwe Mfolozi game park.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Daily Poll
Do you feel safe in your home?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, I stay in a safe neighbourhood
23% - 39 votes
Yes, I have the best security systems
5% - 8 votes
No, we hope/pray for the the best everyday
60% - 103 votes
I have a weapon in case I need it
12% - 21 votes


Read the digital editions of Witness here.
Read now