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Parliament, Cape Town - The presence of dolomite is no reason for the state to refuse to build houses for country's poor, Parliament's human settlements portfolio committee said on Thursday.
The committee met the Council for Geoscience on Wednesday, when the presence of dolomite - which is believed to cause cave-ins or sinkholes - was discussed.
“The council explained that, contrary to what municipalities have been saying to the committee, houses could be built on dolomitic grounds,” the committee said in a statement.
The committee said it had sought expert advice after encountering conflicting reports about the presence of dolomite in the North West, which resulted in homes not being built on land identified for this purpose.
“During our oversight visits, we came across areas that were exposed to sinkholes because they were built on dolomitic land,” committee chairwoman Nomhle Dambuza said.
“... We understand that building on this type of a land is risky, but it should not be used to disadvantage our people.”
Dambuza said ways should be found to prevent sinkholes.
“The council's (engineering geologist) Frederik Stapelberg said dolomite needed to be first assessed by a competent engineer, who would be able to determine what type of development would be suitable for such an area, based on the magnitude of possible sinkholes.”
In areas where there was a possibility of bigger sinkholes forming, a higher class development could be considered, while in areas where smaller sinkholes could occur, a dense development could be considered.
The council had warned that the tests associated with such an assessment could be costly.
Dambuza said there were examples of developments being built on dolomitic land, including in Centurion. - Sapa