Merafong plagued by sinkholes‚ but the municipality says it has done nothing wrong

A house in Merafong has swallowed by a sinkhole, a problem which has plagued the area for years. Image:: SIMPHIWE NKWALI
A house in Merafong has swallowed by a sinkhole, a problem which has plagued the area for years. Image:: SIMPHIWE NKWALI

The Merafong Municipality has disputed Democratic Alliance allegations that it used over R100-million given to it as disaster management funds without completing the work it requested the money for.

The Merafong Municipality has disputed Democratic Alliance allegations that it used over R100-million given to it as disaster management funds without completing the work it requested the money for.

On Tuesday‚ the DA in Merafong accused the municipality of using money allocated for disaster management but it had still not fixed infrastructure damaged by sinkholes.

“Plagued by sinkholes‚ water leaks and crumbling infrastructure‚ the Merafong Local Municipality received a R118-million disaster management bailout package in 2017 to ensure that residents’ lives were not adversely affected by the impact these problems would have on the daily water supply of thousands of residents. This money is gone‚ but the challenges facing residents remain. Of the five major sinkholes that were to be meant to be filled‚ only three have been sufficiently rehabilitated and considered safe‚” the DA said.

Merafong has been struggling with serious sinkholes‚ which have damaged public infrastructure and private properties for some time.

In a response to the publication, the municipality rejected the DA statement.

“A recommendation to declare a Local State of Disaster was approved by Council on 27 October 2016. Engagements with the West Rand District Municipality Disaster Department‚ Provincial Disaster Management Centre (reporting to National Disaster Management Centre) followed subsequent to which the municipality was declared a disaster area and a grant amounting to R118.075-million was allocated to the municipality to address the rehabilitation of several sinkholes and associated damage to infrastructure seriously affecting service delivery‚” the municipality said.

“Due to the increase in the sizes of the sinkholes post the original investigations‚ quantities required for the rehabilitation commensurately increased with a change in methodology for rehabilitation and an increase in the costs for the respective projects. This necessitated for the reprioritisation of costs and it was decided (with the approval of the Disaster Management Technical Task Team) to postpone for the interim the Khutsong 590 sinkhole rehabilitation and sewer pipeline projects to cover the additional costs on the remaining projects‚” it added.

The council said it had spend the money on nine projects‚ including a collapsed sewer lines and several sinkholes.

The municipality said it spent all the money given to it on the projects listed above 

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