Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said in Johannesburg on Saturday that even though government had provided R400m for clearing and cleaning derelict mines, it was not going to “keep quiet and sit back”. “Other mines will become derelict into the future. That is when the drainage starts,” she said. “We have decided that even though we are funding this project, we will follow up with users and operators and using Section 19 and 20 of the Water Act to try and retrieve money for them,” she said. “We are investigating a possible environmental levy of some sort or a tax, which is money we will be able to use to clean up where a problem of this nature occurs.”
Molewa said the department was working closely with mining houses to recycle mine water. “We are investigating whether we can use this water as grey water for industry or potable water for drinking,” she said, adding that the department was exploring a range of ways to improve the efficiency of South Africa’s water usage.
“Water recycling has become a reality to be looked at as we begin to explore other avenues with regard to water supply.”