Sinkhole problem claims 'several buildings' at Waterkloof Air Force Base

Members of the SANDF at Waterkloof Airforce Base.
Members of the SANDF at Waterkloof Airforce Base.
Image: Gallo Images / Foto24 / Alet Pretorius

SA’s busiest air force base, a national key point used by President Cyril Ramaphosa and government ministers, has a sinkhole problem.

Parliament’s portfolio committee on public works and infrastructure said on Wednesday that “several buildings” on the 640-hectare Waterkloof Air Force Base, south of Pretoria, “have been demolished as a result of ground movement brought on by water ingress from wet services”.

The base, the scene of the infamous Gupta wedding guests' landing, has a high-risk classification due to dolomitic soil conditions. Steps are now being taken to ensure sinkholes do not impact the functionality, effectiveness and safety of the base.

Committee chairperson Nolitha Ntobongwana said: “We can’t have a national key point used by the president and ministers declared as a high-risk area because of the development of sinkholes.”

The committee, in Gauteng on official oversight visits, welcomed the appointment of a contractor, in July, to ensure the base was made safe.

The contractor will handle, among other things, the construction or replacement of water, sewer and storm water pipes; upgrade dolomite non-compliant internal building wet services; the rehabilitation of sinkholes; and demolition of identified buildings abandoned due to ground movement evident by sinkhole formation on the base.

Clearance of various sinkholes commenced on August 23. The contract is expected to last 36 months.

Ntobongwana said the committee would conduct a follow-up visit to check on work and would be provided with regular progress reports.


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