Blyvoor’s future still as clear as mud

The house is one of many that have been damaged by ground stability problems in Blyvoor. These problems will have to be assessed before the proclamation of a town can be considered.

The future of Blyvooruitzicht is still unclear and there has been no further action to save the town.
According to the mine’s liquidator, Mr Leigh Roering, the process to finalise Blyvoor’s liquidation stalled again when a company called the West Rand Economic Initiative applied for it to be put into business rescue. On 23 April, two of the mine’s large creditors, Merafong Crushers and Covalent Water Company handed in court papers indicating that this intervention could not work.
‘If a business rescue was to be done, the mine’s biggest creditors, its 1 723 former employees, would be first in line to be compensated and not a new company getting involved in the process,’ Roering said.
In the meantime, plans for the government to possibly take over Blyvoor’s village have also come to nothing so far.
‘We have had meetings with the Housing Development Agency and the Merafong City Local Municipality, among others. So far, no one has come up with a solution,’ Roering says.
Should the government take over Blyvoor, he believes the first thing it should do is to have it proclaimed as an urban area. To do this, an extensive and expensive geological study would first have to be done because of its historic ground stability issues.
According to him, officials have suggested in the past that it may be easier to rehabilitate the whole town and move the residents elsewhere.
The Herald asked the Merafong City Local Municipality for comment on Tuesday.
‘The Blyvooruitzicht village forms part of the Blyvooruitzicht mine under liquidation and, therefore, the municipality has no jurisdiction over the property. However, the municipality has engaged relevant stakeholders over some time to facilitate a sustainable solution. The municipality’s view is that mining villages must be formalised and be proclaimed. The municipality will support a township application that complies with all applicable legislation. Since the owners of the mine are not in a position to implement such a costly project, the municipality has engaged the Housing Development Agency in this regard.
As part of its legislative mandate, Section 7 of the Housing Development Agency Act, (Act No. 23 of 2008) requires the Agency to, among other things, undertake any processes relating to approvals required for housing development, prepare the necessary documentation for consideration and approval by the relevant authorities and monitor the progress of the development of immovable property acquired for the purposes of creating sustainable human settlements.
‘The National Department of Human Settlements has appointed the HDA to assist with the human settlements component of the National Mining Towns Intervention. The objectives of this component require the transformation of the mining towns through the creation of sustainable integrated human settlements. The HDA has committed to conducting a pre-feasibility study in Blyvooruitzicht, mainly to determine the geotechnical status of the area. The outcome will determine the way forward,’ a municipal spokesperson reported.

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