Dangerously Large Sinkholes Form at Khutsong School Four Years After Gauteng Government Promised Action

ActionSA is concerned that four years after the Gauteng Provincial Government promised to address the growing sinkholes in the community of Khutsong on the West Rand, the issue remains unchanged with a new sinkhole forming at Relebogile Secondary school in Khutsong South on Thursday morning.

The sinkhole which formed at Relebogile Secondary school damaged the foundation of the school, rendering the school unusable in some cases, and causing a hazard for pupils playing in the area.

It is believed that sinkholes, which in some places have swallowed entire electricity poles and led to the collapse of more than 44 houses, have been caused due to a mixture of leaking sewerage pipes which caused wet soil, and the community being built on high-risk dolomite land.

When I, alongside ActionSA West Rand activists, visited Batswaneng, Khutsong, last week, we found a number of growing sinkholes in the middle of roads – some filled with water – which is extremely dangerous for the number of school children walking past them and playing nearby.

What is of particular concern is that despite repeated promises to address the situation, the Merafong Municipality has failed to come up with a solution to assist the families or sent engineers to locate the root issue causing the sinkholes in the community.

In 2019, MEC Maile already promised to address the growing sinkholes in the community, and ahead of the 2021 Local Government Elections, Gauteng, Premier Panyaza Lesufi, promised similar action – even going as far as to declare the area a state of disaster.

No action has since been taken with another 100 households, according to the Gauteng provincial, are now at risk for collapse due to the growing sinkholes.

ActionSA, through our local structures, will apply pressure on the Merafong Municipality to urgently address the situation and assist those affected by electricity and sewerage outages due to the growing sinkholes.

It cannot be that it takes a government more than four years to respond to the plight of our people, and ActionSA will do everything possible to ensure that the situation is resolved once and for all.