The FF Plus has asked the Human Rights Commission (HRC) to investigate the causes that lead to the formation of a sinkhole in the yard of a home in Emalahleni/Witbank, seeing as neither the mine nor the Municipality will accept responsibility for its rehabilitation.
The national Department of Mineral Resources and Energy referred the FF Plus to the Emalahleni Local Municipality after enquiries about the mine.
According to the municipal manager, Mr Sizwe Mayisela, the Municipality is the protector of the natural environment, but it has limited jurisdiction over mining activities in the Municipality.
The owners of the house in question, who have three young children, have since put safety measures in place to prevent a child or animal from falling into the sinkhole.
Residents of Jackaroo Park in Witbank in the Emalahleni Local Municipality (Kriel, Ogies, Phola, Emalahleni / Witbank) are convinced that the sinkhole was caused by mining activities near the residential area.
The nearby coal mine commenced with its activities after the residential area had already been developed.
In September 2021, large cracks started to form in various homes – which is around the same time that the sinkhole formed.
The FF Plus has no other choice but to approach the HRC to investigate the matter. Jackaroo Park residents have the right to live and work in an environment that is not harmful nor poses a danger to their health or wellbeing.
The FF Plus's Member of Parliament for Mineral Resources and Energy, Dr Wynand Boshoff, will also pose questions to Minister Gwede Mantashe regarding, among other things, which level of government is responsible when mining activities render the environment in a residential area so dangerous that it may even claim lives.