Byline: Kelebogile Masemola

12 September 2022

Flooding caused by the collapse of a mine dam wall in Jagersfontein, Free State swept away houses and cars on Sunday, 11 September 2022, killing one person and injuring another 70.

The premier’s office confirmed that only one person died as result of flooding.

Houses and vehicles were swept away on Sunday when the wall of a dam burst in the mining town.

The deluge knocked out electricity in the town and washed away livestock.

Spokesperson in the premier’s office, Palesa Chubisis, said over 70 people had been hospitalised.

A pregnant woman is among those left injured.

“We can confirm that only one body has been recovered by emergency services that indicated to us that one person is still unaccounted for.

They had to withdraw the search and rescue team yesterday evening.

However, the rescue mission will resume this morning.

Seventy-three patients were admitted to hospital with minor injuries,” said Chubisis.

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) released a media statement on Sunday afternoon, stating the incident happened at around 06:00 am on Sunday morning.

“The tailings of the abandoned local mine burst open causing damages to infrastructure, personal property and homes.

The untold damages in and around the community of Charlesville in Jagersfontein are extensive and has had negatively impacted the community.

Some people are displaced, others lost property, whilst others are reported injured and missing,” Cogta said.

Cogta said multi-disciplinary teams consisting of the police, emergency medical services, health, disaster management, social development, search and rescue personnel and engineers from the mine responded instantly and were on the scene where search, rescue, immediate relief and stabilization operations were underway.

“The reports received thus far is that the flow of the water has ended and the immediate warning was being stabilized.

The injured persons had been provided with on scene emergency medical care and was transported to local hospitals.

According to Cogta, the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) is coordinating with the Provincial Disaster Management Centre (PDMC) and other stakeholders to ensure that assistance needed is provided where required.

“The NDMC has deployed staff members to the affected area to assess the damage and impact and to provide direct operational support.”

Eskom Free State spokesperson Reggie Moleko said, “This morning after the retainer wall broke and the mud started gushing down.

We lost our substation it completely got washed away, we have lost supply to the pump point next to the township, and we have lost supply to sewage pump these two points have been completely washed out.”

“We would use those two lines to supply pump points, mine supply is back but the townships and the town do not have for now pans are in place maybe by Tuesday morning.

They are running repairs like it hasn’t happened before, disaster managements plans are activated,” said Moleko.