One of the sinkholes which residents use to dump garbage.
© Ntwaagae Seleka
One of the sinkholes which residents use to dump garbage.
Residents from a Khutsong suburb outside Carletonville could soon be forced to leave their homes because of a sinkhole swallowing up giant portions of land, laying waste to properties and infrastructure.

Community leaders have accused the local Merafong City Municipality of ignoring geologists' reports which years ago said this the earth was likely to give way. The City confirmed that it plans to rehouse more than 25 000 residents.

Homes and streets have already completely disappeared in some parts, leaving residents in nearby areas worried that their properties could be next.

A stench from the broken sewer pipes hangs over the area. Some residents have taken to using the sinkholes as dumping sites.

In some places, owners have abandoned their homes which continue to fall into the sinkholes bit by bit. The situation is often worsened by heavy rain.



This has lead to a rise in criminals stripping deserted homes, taking windows, roofing materials, doors, electric cables, toilet seats, bathtubs and other items.

Those without homes have been relocated to RDP houses in other parts of the suburb.

70% of Khutsong is not suitable for human habitation and over 25 000 families are expected to be relocated.
© Twitter/@ReaMphahlele14
70% of Khutsong is not suitable for human habitation and over 25 000 families are expected to be relocated.
Abandoned houses in Khutsong.
© Ntwaagae Seleka
Abandoned houses in Khutsong.
Dumping site

When News24 visited the Khutsong, a man was seen emptying a rubbish bin into a sinkhole.

"We are trying to fill these sinkholes with garbage, hoping they won't spread further. Many houses here are cracking and soon they will also be swallowed by sinkholes," he said.

Two elderly women said the situation was a nightmare.

They said they have lost hope in their local municipality and called on it to replace old infrastructure underground, which was believed to be causing the sinkholes.

Community leader Elias Tsotetsi said that the Merafong City Municipality was waiting for people to die inside their homes before it decided to replace the old sewer and water pipes underground.

Tsotetsi claimed that geologists who did a study about the suburb's sinkholes warned the municipality about the situation many years ago.

"They kept it as a secret and did nothing about it. They thought that these sinkholes were not going to spread. Unfortunately, they are spreading worse now and are eating our homes.

"What are they waiting for? They must simply replace those old asbestos pipes with new materials and allow people to live in peace. Residents here are silent and have accepted new RDP houses that they are being relocated to and are not fighting to protect their homes," Tsotetsi said.

He was worried that moving people into new RDP houses could spark tension because people who previously owned houses were now getting homes before those who have been on the housing waiting list for long.

Flooding in Khutsong has exacerbated sinkholes in the area.
© Twitter/@XhalaSelby
Flooding in Khutsong has exacerbated sinkholes in the area.