/ 12 September 2007

Govt: Khutsong not a national disaster area

Khutsong has not been declared a national disaster area, the Ministry of Provincial and Local Government said on Wednesday.

Spokesperson for the ministry, Thokozani Mtshali, said a North West portfolio committee presented a report to the provincial legislature on Tuesday but this did not constitute a declaration.

”A province cannot declare a national disaster. The presentation of that report does not amount to a declaration of a national disaster,” he said.

Earlier media reports stated that the area had been declared a national disaster because of the high risk of sinkholes. These sinkholes were threatening the stability of 90% of dwellings built on the land.

The provincial department of developmental local government and housing said the area had been visited on August 28 and 29 and the ”suggestion to declare” the area a national disaster was tabled on Tuesday.

Lesiba Kgwele said the earlier reports of a declaration were ”misinformed”.

He said the report and recommendation to declare the area a national disaster area would be sent to Minister Sydney Mufamadi within the next few days.

Merafong municipality spokesperson Seabo Gaeganelwe said it had been agreed that any developments on the resettlement of people living on unsafe land would be communicated to the municipality and this had not been done.

”This by implication means that we still wait for a decision by the minister of provincial and local government. No receipt of a written declaration effectively means that Minister Mufamadi is still applying his mind,” he said. — Sapa