Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba. FILE PHOTO: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba on Tuesday said he had written to the Minister of Mineral Resources Gwede Mantashe requesting his support and intervention with regard to illegal mining with the use of explosives near highways, Transnet bulk fuel supply and Sasol gas pipelines.

"The time has come for national government to do the right thing, take this matter seriously and decisively act to protect our residents," said Mashaba.

On Monday, Mantashe's department said there was no immediate threat to critical infrastructure as has been claimed. 

It said that government wanted to confirm this assertion scientifically, and proactively deal with this matter not only in Johannesburg, but in other areas where illegal mining occurs. 

They said preliminary report on the matter will be provided within two weeks.

Mashaba said he had previously engaged with former mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane.

“The minister chose to turn a blind eye to those requests. I had also requested that minister Mantashe instruct his department to provide us with specific measures, plans and interventions to avert this pending disaster by 3 April 2018. This was again met with silence,” said Mashaba.

“These efforts followed several other attempts, made in good faith, to engage the former minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, by writing to him on both 28 November 2017 and 12 February 2018. In my letter dated 28 November 2018, I requested the former minister’s assistance in terms of instructing his department to provide us with measures and interventions to avert a pending disaster.”

Mashaba said the deadline came and went without any communication form the former minister.

African News African (ANA)