With reference to the statement in the Jozi Gold Documentary Film that “the golden era has left 12 million people living on grounds more radioactive than Chernobyl” the FSE wishes to advise that according to its understanding the number is not 12 million people but approximately 400,000 people. Furthermore, while it is the FSE’s understanding that the majority of mine residue areas are radioactive, the FSE has no knowledge of the fact that “the grounds are more radioactive than Chernobyl”.
According to Tang & Watkins (2011) it is estimated that 25 percent of the population in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni live in informal settlements, and approximately one quarter of them, 400,000 people, are in the mining belt. The settlements range from 100 to 40,000 people, with the largest communities in Ekurhuleni.
According to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (2011), the majority of mine residue areas (MRAs) is radioactive because the Witwatersrand gold‐bearing ores contain almost ten times the amount of uranium than gold.
References: Tang, D & Watkins, A 2011, ‘Ecologies of Gold: The Past and Future Mining Landscapes of Johannesburg’, Places Journal,
Department of Agriculture and Rural Development 2011, Feasibility Study on Reclamation of Mine Residue Areas for Development Purposes: Phase II Strategy and Implementation Plan, Technical report no. 788/06/01/2011, Gauteng.