Published by eljhbadmin at January 24, 2011
In an article in The Sunday Times (Review) (page 5, under “So many questions” 23 January 2011), the Director General (DG) of Department of Water Affairs (DWA), made statements about AMD that contradict credible scientific information about AMD and previous reports on the issue.
Trevor Balzer (DG, DWA) alleged that the there has been no contamination of the Vaal River catchment area from the Eastern Basin and that only treated mine water goes into the Vaal River from the Eastern Basin. The following suggests otherwise:
In The Sunday Times, the DG also commented that lime treatment (neutralization) does not leave radioactive sludge. In fact, lime treatment makes the heavy metals fall out of acid mine water and accumulate in a sludge at the bottom of the stream. In the Witwatersrand area, one of these heavy metals is commonly uranium, which is radioactive. Therefore the sludge will be radioactive. See the FSE’s letter to Mr Balzer given below, also see: ‘Ministers catching up with AMD?’
We can only assume that these statements of the DG of DWA were innocent mistakes. The FSE has written to the DG to point out these errors and inform him of some key reports that the former DG of DWA (then DWAF) sent to the FSE (see links to these below). Download FSE’s letter here: FSE RESPONSE TO MR TREVOR BALZER RE SUNDAY TIMES REPORT
Given the recent changes in the department, perhaps new DWA officials are unaware of some previous reports on AMD. These reports clearly show that DWA was working on plans to deal with the AMD issue. One wonders if the Inter-Ministerial Committee on AMD is aware of them. You can download them here: