Mr E M Mlambo (ANC) to ask the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans:
Whether, with reference to the imminent danger posed by the sink-hole at the Waterkloof base, she has put any plans in place to prevent the collapse of the base and avert imminent danger; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?”
The Department of Public Works (DPW) established a dedicated Dolomite Risk Management Directorate, which harnesses the latest technologies and methodologies to reduce the loss of public infrastructure resulting from dolomitic instability. The Air Force issued an Instruction on Dolomitic Risk Management at Air Force Facilities to interface with the procedures for risk reduction administered by Public Works. The policy and accompanying standard operating procedures were finalised in 2010. All major capital investments in infrastructure at Air Force Base Waterkloof, including reconstruction of the runways and peripheral infrastructure conform to the technical specifications and precautionary measures aimed at reducing dolomite risk. Land use planning at this base furthermore is conducted in such a manner as to avoid high risk areas in favour of setting infrastructure in more appropriate areas.
Existing infrastructure located on high risk dolomitic substrate at Waterkloof is converted to compatible dry infrastructure, i.e facilities not dependent on water-bearing services that significantly contribute to the risk of deterioration and dolomite instability.
At this stage, there is no intention to move or relocate Air Force Base Waterkloof.
The need to permanently relocate several units in the Pretoria military node due to prevailing dolomite conditions had initially been identified in the late 1970s and early 1980s leading to Project IMERGO in 1984, and the Pretoria Wallmansthal Development Plan by 1987. The purpose of these studies were to identify and allocate suitable areas to the affected military units including Air Force Base Waterkloof. The plan was however never implemented and the safety of Air Force Base Waterkloof was reassessed in the mid 1990s.
Due to the considerable capital investment represented in Air Force Base Waterkloof and the emergence of new technologies and methodologies to secure infrastructure in dolomitic environments, the Air Force opted on February 1998 to continue with the programme to rehabilitate affected and damaged facilities and to prepare a master plan for the redevelopment of Waterkloof. It is therefore to the credit of the current administration that the work is being carried out currently.