DE BEERS has warned the Sol Plaatje Municipality not to re-open Bultfontein Road. From the DFA
‘Do not open road’
PATSY BEANGSTROM NEWS EDITOR
Feb 5 2016
DE BEERS has warned the Sol Plaatje Municipality not to re-open Bultfontein Road. Abel Madonsela, De Beers Corporate Affairs Manager, said yesterday that the decision to re-open the road was the sole responsibility of the municipality. “De Beers does…read more…
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DE BEERS has warned the Sol Plaatje Municipality not to re-open Bultfontein Road.
Abel Madonsela, De Beers Corporate Affairs Manager, said yesterday that the decision to re-open the road was the sole responsibility of the municipality.
“De Beers does not have any authority to open or close public roads. At its nearest point to the open pit, the pavement of Bultfontein Road is located approximately 14 metres from the edge of the pit,” Madonsela stated.
“De Beers believes that it is not appropriate to have a public road (and the water and sewage services beneath the road) located so close to an open pit. De Beers therefore believes that the road in its current position should remain permanently closed to avoid any potential harm to persons and property and has communicated its views to the municipality in the past.”
While the company said it had taken note of the media reports regarding the municipality’s decision to re-open the road, it was silent in the face of questions regarding its legal and moral obligation to cover the financial costs of re-opening the road.
In a report drawn up by City Engineer, Boy Dhluwayo, it was claimed that De Beers never received a mine closure certificate for the Big Hole and therefore had rehabilitation responsibilities.
The report stated further the financial implications of securing a solution in terms of Bultfontein Road and this should be carried by the mining licence holder (namely De Beers).
This includes any engineering solution to prevent the Big Hole from any further subsurface slippage; the rehabilitation and rejuvenation of Bultfontein Road to accommodate traffic; and the rehabilitation of several roads and intersections within the city will require rehabilitation as they have suffered damage due to excessive traffic volumes and loading.
Based on this report, a council decision was taken on Wednesday that Bultfontein Road be rehabilitated and re-opened to accommodate all light traffic. It was also agreed that all adjacent roads must be upgraded and that recommendations be made to the Minister of Minerals and Resources to invoke section 45 of the MPRDA in respect of rehabilitation of the Big Hole.
A comprehensive study will also be commissioned on the possibility of stabilising the hole as a permanent long-term solution and the Department of Mineral Resources will be consulted for advice about the legal responsibilities of a mine licence holder as well as the extent of financial provision for rehabilitation or management of the negative environmental impact of the Big Hole.
Meanwhile, the Northern Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Nocci) yesterday acknowledged “with pleasure” the municipality’s decision to open Bultfontein Road.
“This follows nine years of continuous negotiation by Nocci with all the parties concerned,” Nocci CEO Sharon Steyn said.
“We are very pleased with the outcome and we are looking forward to the progress in this regard.”