File photo: Herbert Matimba.

PORT ELIZABETH – Public Works and Infrastructure portfolio committee chairperson Nolitha Ntobongwana has called on the South African Air Force and other stakeholders to ensure ongoing functionality and safety of the Waterkloof Air Force Base (WAFB) as a national key point. 

The committee is in Gauteng on official oversight visits to various government entities reporting to the Ministry and Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.

“We can’t have a national key point used by the president and ministers declared as a high risk area because of the development of sinkholes,” Ntobongwana said.

The committee found during its visit that several buildings at Waterkloof, which has a high-risk classification due to dolomitic soil conditions, had been demolished as a result of ground movement brought on by water ingress from wet services. 

However, the committee was told that the base was safe for use and that it was monitored regularly. 

The committee also welcomed the appointment of the Independent Development Trust (IDT) as the implementing agent for the rehabilitation and maintenance of sinkhole and dolomite at the WAFB.

Ntobongwana called on all stakeholders to “work together to ensure that the base is fully safe for usage by members of the executive”.

A contractor has been appointed for 36 months and will report on progress on among others, sewer and storm water infrastructure repairs and construction, upgrading of dolomite non-compliant internal building wet services, sealing of canals and manholes, as well as rehabilitation of sinkholes.

Ntobongwana says the committee will make follow-up visits to check on the completion of the process to secure Waterkloof. 

African News Agency (ANA)