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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


Jagersfontein mudslide damage to be assessed as mine owners sets aside R20m for residents

Eskom says it has made progress in restoring electricity supply to Jagersfontein.


Jagersfontein Developments has pledged some funds in order to assist residents affected by the impact of a mudslide after mine dam collapse.

On Sunday, a dam wall collapsed in Jagersfontein, Free State, killing at least one person and injuring several others, while two people are said to be missing.

The disaster has also left hundreds of Charlesville residents displaced following damage to residential properties as well as government infrastructure.

Proper assessment

According to media reports, Jagersfontein Developments has set aside R20 million “for affected people on the ground and the restoration of the town”.

In addition, the company confirmed that the waste water was not hazardous, adding it was cooperating with local authorities while undertaking a full investigation.

Kopanong Local Municipality mayor, Xolani Tseletsele, echoed Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe’s sentiments, saying the mine owners should have to take full responsibility for the damages caused.

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“The mine has to take full responsibility as a strategic event as to what they must do. What commitment that government will be making is welcomed, but our focus now is to ensure that the mining bosses account for has occurred in this area,” he told Newzroom Afrika on Monday.

Tseletsele highlighted that the damage is yet to be quantified.

“We do not know, in terms of the assets or value of our people in the households, how much it is that is affected, but there will be technical team that will make a proper assessment of what are the losses,” he further said.

Earlier, mining company De Beers clarified that it has not been the owner of the mine for more than ten years.

Following the incident, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma activated the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), which has since deployed staff members to the affected area to assess the damage and impact, and to provide direct operational support.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is also expected to visit Jagersfontein.

Electricity supply

Meanwhile, Eskom says it made significant progress in restoring bulk electricity supply to Jagersfontein.

This is after the power utility’s Rietkuil Substation was engulfed by mud, severely damaging the infrastructure.

In a statement, Eskom said supply in the area could be restored as early as Tuesday.

“Rietkuil Substation is a bulk supply point from which Centlec, the electricity distributor in the area, supplies Jagersfontein and Charlesville.

“Electricity supply to Jagersfontein Mine was restored on Sunday afternoon. In addition, plans are in motion to restore bulk supply to Centlec through alternative feeders. If all goes according to plan, bulk supply should be restored by Tuesday,” the power utility said.

Eskom further pointed out that municipal infrastructure might have also been damaged, leading to prolonged supply interruptions.

“Customers on the Fauresmith-Spitskop and Pompie-Rietkuil feeders are, however, still without electricity supply due to 50 poles that collapsed as a result of the flood.

“Muddy conditions are making this area unreachable, leaving us with seven rural customers who are without supply. The Rietkuil Substation is also still inaccessible making it impossible to calculate the extent of the damage.

“The possibility does exist that the station will have to be rebuilt in its entirety. Eskom will continue to work with the various disaster management structures in addressing the devastating situation in Jagersfontein.”

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