Johannesburg Chernobyl

Photo: Unsplash

Revealed: Race now on to prevent ‘Johannesburg’s own Chernobyl’

Some Gauteng politicians have raised the alarm about a potentially dangerous, Chernobyl-like situation developing in Johannesburg this week.

Johannesburg Chernobyl

Photo: Unsplash

The DA has stressed the need for urgency in Riverlea, Johannesburg this week – after raising concerns about an ‘illegal’ mining camp erected in the area. Given its perilous position, some politicians fear that the city’s own version of Chernobyl could unfold – should the miners decide to carry on with their excavations here.

That’s because the camp in Ward 68 sits atop both a Sasol pipeline and a Transnet pipeline. One carries gas, the other fuel. You don’t have to be Gwede Mantashe to understand that this could create an unmitigated disaster.

The threat of Johannesburg’s own Chernobyl – what’s it all about, then?

Should mining operations force both the gas and fuel pipes to clash with each other, the resulting blast would be devastating – and that’s putting it mildly. Although no nuclear materials are present at the site, Mpho Phalatse – the DA’s candidate for Johannesburg Mayor in the 2021 Local Elections – says the scale of the explosion ‘could rival Chernobyl‘.

“The Zamamphilo gold mining camp in Ward 68 of Riverlea poses a serious risk to residents both of the camp and surrounding areas such as Horseshoe. This camp, situated on top of both a Sasol gas pipeline as well as a Transnet fuel pipeline, is in fact an illegal mining camp and not an informal settlement.”

“Should the gas and fuel come into contact, this can result in a fatal explosion for much of the surrounding areas. The illegal miners are underground without the use of professional equipment or engineers. If these miners get too close to these pipes and accidentally hit them, Johannesburg could see itself dealing with its own Chernobyl.”

DA politicians demand urgent action over mining camp

Chernobyl is a nuclear plant that suffered a catastrophic explosion back in the 1980s, spewing out toxic fumes and radiation poisoning for all of those living in this part of Ukraine. The scale of the tragedy was wide-ranging, and the town has been cordoned off for almost four decades. Phalatse isn’t alone with his alarmist tone, either…

DA Councillor McKinnley Mitchell has already called for an urgent debate on the matter in the Johannesburg City Council to take place later this month – and he’s made it clear to the chambers that ‘time is of the essence’.

“The increase in population of this mining camp has also resulted in a surge in crime. It is imperative that the Municipality immediately commences with the process of relocating those living here, so that their lives, and those of residents in surrounding areas aren’t put in danger. This illegal mining activity must also cease.” | Mpho Phalatse