Africa-Press – South-Africa. The Free State government now says that another dam wall has not collapsed in Jagersfontein, and that the water seen running through the area is from a reservoir that overflowed following a few days of rain.
Premier Sisi Ntombela had earlier claimed that a second dam wall in the area had collapsed, after water was seen flowing through the neighbourhood of Charlesville and the nearby Dennis Louw farm.
The head of the provincial Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Dr Mbulelo Nokwequ, told News24 that reports of another collapse were untrue.
He said that there was a clean water reservoir near the dam that collapsed more than two weeks ago.
“It is called Dam 10, and it is a clean water reservoir used to treat the tailings. It has been raining for the last few days. The dam overflowed as expected. It was a low flow rate, and it was quickly sorted out.”
Nokwequ said the overflow had been brought under control by Tuesday night.
Residents urged ‘not to panic’ after Jagersfontein hit by another dam wall collapse
“If you see the footage of the overflow, it does not look like clean water. It looks like the sludge from the dam collapse, and that is what made people panic. The water looked like sludge because, as it flowed, it was with sludge.”
This was confirmed by Jagersfontein Developments in a statement: “The facility continues to be monitored and is stable.”
Nokwequ urged people in the area not to panic.
Hundreds of residents were left homeless when a dam wall collapsed in the area on 11 September.
Ralehana Aaron Mosoeu, 78, died in the disaster, while Mantele Mokhali, 50, and Shadrack Williams, 70, are still unaccounted for.
The sludge wiped out 164 backyard vegetable gardens.
Fourteen smallholding owners and 29 commercial farmers were left devastated after the Prosesspruit and Kromellenboogspruit Rivers were polluted.
Livestock died and people lost their homes.
Nokwequ said mop-up operations were still continuing and that the environmental rehabilitation process was a long-term project.
“There are retaining walls that are being put up so that the sludge does not wash down the river.”