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56 mines using water illegally in SA

Govt says the mines are operating without a water-use license which is placing SA's water security at risk.

FILE. The mines are operating without a water-use license and this is placing the country's water security at risk. Picture: freeimages.com.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of Water and Sanitation says 56 mines are currently operating in South Africa without a valid water-use license and has warned that this is illegal and is placing the country's water security at risk.

Minister Nomvula Mokonyane has revealed in a Parliamentary response to the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) that several of these cases have been referred to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).

Mokonyane's department says that in November last year, 96 mines did not have authorisation to use water and by the end of last month only 40 mines had applied for a license.

Her spokesman Sputnik Ratau says although the number of companies making an application has increased, it still means they had been using water illegally for years.

"Which means that a larger number had not applied for water-use authorisation at all. Therefore it would not be an administrative order that they be operating without a license. It was a decision of their own to operate without a water license, even though they had not even applied."

(Editedby Tamsin Wort)