The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) has slapped Kromdraai Mine with a Directive in terms of Section 20 (4) (d) of the National Water Act, 1988 (Act No 36 of 1998) for failure to take all reasonable measures to contain and minimise the effects of the incident that led to the pollution of the Kromdraai River and affecting the Wilge River.The Directive relates to Kromdraai Mine engaging in water use activities without authorisation by discharging acid mine water into the Kromdraai River following the incident of the collapse of an old shaft at Kromdraai Mine on or around 14 February 2022. The Directive instructs Kromdraai Mine to take all reasonable measures to contain and minimise the effects of the incident, undertake clean-up procedures, remedy the effects of the incident, and appoint a suitably qualified professional to compile a rehabilitation plan for all the affected areas within ten (10) days upon receipt of the Directive. The plan must be submitted to the Department for consideration, and thereafter the Kromdraai Mine must finally implement all the recommendations contained in the rehabilitation plan and rehabilitate the areas affected by the water activities within thirty (30) days upon the Department’s approval of the rehabilitation plan. Failure to comply with the Directive issued in terms of Section 20 (4) (d) of the National Water Act (NWA) constitutes an offence in terms of Section 151 (1) (d) of the NWA. Any person who contravenes any provision of Subsection (1) of Section 151 of the NWA is guilty of an offence and liable, on first conviction, to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years, or both a fine and such imprisonment and in the case of a second conviction or subsequent conviction, to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding ten years or both a fine and such imprisonment in terms of Section 151 (2) of the NWA.
The DWS is taking appropriate actions in the meantime, with continuing engagements with the mine and affected parties. The mine has acknowledged culpability.There is a decision to release water from the Loskop, Wilge, Bronkhorstspruit and Middelburg Dams in order to flush the pollution. This will determine how much water will be required for this action, and then a determination of the cost of such water will also be determined and that money will be reimbursed by the mine to the DWS. Pollution of water resources will not be tolerated, and polluters must pay for their irresponsible actions.