Original Research

An analysis of the vulnerability of informal and formal households to disaster risks in the Rand West City region

Nomonde Madubula, Elize van Eeden
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 16, No 1 | a1589 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v16i1.1589 | © 2024 Nomonde Madubula, Elize van Eeden | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 August 2023 | Published: 23 May 2024

About the author(s)

Nomonde Madubula, Financial and Fiscal Commission, Midrand, Gauteng, South Africa
Elize van Eeden, School of Social Science, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa


This study aimed to compare how vulnerable informal and formal households are to disaster risks in Bekkersdal mining area in the Rand West City municipality, using a mixed method. A qualitative approach was used to construct a situational analysis of the community, while a questionnaire was used to collect descriptive data. Findings showed both household types (formal and informal) experienced disaster-related risks as their coping resources are limited. Disaster risks such as mining-related incidents (dust, earth tremors and windstorms) are more significant in the informal areas than in formal areas because of their geographical locations. The latter are located in high density areas, with limited access to basic services. Resulting in among others, construction of illegal informal areas and use of illegal electricity connections. These disaster incidents occur against the backdrop of an already vulnerable dolomitic environment that tends to form sinkholes. Thus, the negative impact of mining is the highest disaster risk factor in the area, yet households seem tolerant and distant as they perceive mining as a job opportunity. The study recommended the municipality to include disaster risks in their integrated development plans to ensure that sustainable mining practices are in place to minimise the negative effects in the area. The rehabilitation of mines, measures to prevent informal construction or illegal occupation, and educational awareness on mitigation and adaptation measures are necessary.

Contribution: The study adds to the body of knowledge by revising some old techniques of addressing disaster risk measures, especially in surrounding mining communities.


disaster risk; vulnerability; household vulnerability; informal and formal households; mining activities; Bekkersdal.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities


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