Coronation is one of the informal settlements which are not safe in Witbank. It was built next to an old dump mine which was never rehabilitated in the 1980s after mining.
Coronation is known as one of the areas that has high rate of crime. In this area, there is no electricity, water and Sanitation. In order for people to get water they walk a long distance because they use a communal taps. The quality of water is not good and there are no proper roads. This areas is not fenced, people walk in the hil of coal they go to work, going to town and even collecting water. People in the informal settlement they go there and dig coal for sale, cooking and heating. There are no warning signs to show that the place is dangerous. There are number of deaths and injuries in that place. There are deep and very scary sink holes in that area. Kids like to go there and play, sometime last year a story was reported whereby two kids burned and died in the sink hole. Some kids got burned and have received a treatment. What can we do, there is no safe playing ground, and this place is so not safe but our poor communities call it home.
Southern Africa Green Council member have been trying to ask the Municipality at least to put fence and warning in the meantime they are trying to locate who is responsible to rehabilitate the area. The biggest issue is that they don’t who must take responsibility.
We were told that the municipality says doesn’t have money to rehabilitate the mine or at least put a fence. We have more questions that answer they collect vote in the area must nothing is happening. We cannot afford to buy land while our land has been destroyed by mines. These prove that, money is better than life. The most affected are black majority; I am starting to believe that this is a curse. Mines where supposed to bring employment but we are dying, getting sick forced to live with an alarming mixture in the air and water.
People have been blamed for being poor and choosing to stay in such areas, where must they go? What are the options? The big question is that why do we have a councillor in that area if government don’t want to recognise the problems facing that community. Its not like they don’t know what is happening there, we also don’t know what is their plan because they don’t discuss it with the communities.
Article Writing BY: Sweetness M. Khoza