Jagersfontein Dam Collapse Could’ve Been Avoided

The tragic collapse of the dam that befell the community of Jagersfontein, has thrust an already fragile Municipality deeper into a prolonged crisis.

ActionSA Provincial Chairperson led a delegation of members to visit Jagersfontein over the weekend to assess the extent of the devastation caused by the catastrophic collapse of the historic dam in Jagersfontein.

The tailings of the dam burst wide open in the early hours of Sunday morning, causing damage of untold proportions to infrastructure while displacing families and children.

Upon arriving on the scene, ActionSA observed, with deep disappointment, that the government had not provided adequate support to the victims of the disaster, who were left running for their lives with only the clothes on their backs.

Among those still missing is Ma Mantele Louisa Mokhali. The Free State Premier, Sisi Ntombela, misled both the nation and the media by saying she was found and recovering at an intensive care unit at a hospital. The family confirmed it was not true.

There are no clear answers from both the Free State Provincial Government and the Department of Minerals and Energy as to who the owner of the mine is or whether they had an operating license.

With victims still trying to navigate the trauma of having their lives upended by the dam collapse, it is as disappointing as it is unsurprising to see no clear plan of action from the Free State Provincial Government and the Disaster Management Centre to provide assistance.

This is symptomatic of a government that no longer has compassion for its people. This preventable failure is as a result of wanton neglect by leadership that also contributed to the walls of Merriespruit tailings collapse in this very province.

Almost three decades later, ANC officials still offer vague statements, dodge accountability and establish ineffective task teams to deal with this problem. It is evident that the ANC government does not have lasting solutions to address the plight of people in mining communities such as this.

We stand firm in the belief that the ANC government is complicit in this devastating event that has inflicted irreparable damage to the environment and the community of Jagersfontein. The government simply cannot be absolved from the havoc wreaked by these industry practises.

ActionSA has already begun the groundwork of engaging members of the medical fraternity to assist with psycho-social support and will work to find solutions for the victims.

ActionSA calls for the same level of commitment by the ANC government to take proactive steps to provide safe drinking water, alternative shelter and restore electricity to the surrounding areas.