JAGERSFONTEIN: The disaster caused by the slime dam collapse in Jagersfontein was classified Provincial Disaster by the National Disaster Management Centre in terms of Section 23 of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (Act no.57 of 2002) through the Gazette published on 22 September 2022.
Subsequently, the Free State Provincial Government (FSPG) officially declared and gazetted Jagersfontein as a Provincial Disaster after a Special Executive Council (EXCO) sitting, chaired by the Premier of the Free State Sisi Ntombela on 26 September 2022.
Upon receipt of reports of another dam wall collapse in the area last night, 27 September 2022, the FSPG immediately activated the Provincial Disaster Management team, including officials from the Department of Water and Sanitation, to Jagersfontein to confirm these reports.
The preliminary assessment reports by the Department of Water and Sanitation, received early today, 28 September 2022, have since indicated that a portion of the earth embankment of Dam 10, the dam in question, suffered some erosion during the incident of 11 September 2022.
With the recent rains in the region, the water overflowed on the eroded portion of Dam 10 as the area is lower than the rest of the embankment wall. This overflowing of water caused further erosion creating further lower spots which will be prone to constant lows caused by any storms or rains.
In essence, this was an overflow and not a dam failure. The Dam Safety Officers have been, and still are, on-site to conduct further inspections in order to provide a conclusive report.
Furthermore, the R706 road, which was initially closed to traffic last night, has since been reopened to traffic moving into Jagersfontein. Law Enforcement, Emergency, and all necessary services remain on the scene.
Premier Sisi Ntombela and EXCO will tomorrow, 29 September 2022, visit the area to assess the situation. Following the assessment and meetings with the local authorities, the Premier will convene a candlelight and prayer service at the Mayibuye Community Hall in memory of those affected by the tragedy.
The Premier has moreover called for calm, has and re-emphasized that the caring government of the Free State is working around the clock to find lasting solutions for the community of Kopanong Local Municipality.
The FSPG assures the citizens of the municipality that through integrated efforts of government, reinforced by the Provincial Disaster team, which remains on the ground, the challenges faced by the community shall be addressed.
The FSPG remains committed to addressing the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality through various programmes of the government, in Jagersfontein and the Free State in general.