Residents urged 'not to panic' after Jagersfontein hit by another dam wall collapse

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  • Jagersfontein in the Free State has been hit by yet another dam wall collapse.
  • The Free State government says it is still trying to establish the extent of the water flow. 
  • Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela has urged residents "not to panic".

Yet another dam wall collapse hit disaster-stricken town Jagersfontein, the Free State government said on Tuesday night.

Palesa Chubisi, spokesperson for Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela, said, "The provincial government is still trying to establish the extent of the water flow. However, it is understood that the water is running through the neighbourhood of Charlesville and the nearby Dennis Louw farm."

Chubisi said the R706 was closed to traffic and motorists were advised to use alternative roads.

"The police and emergency services [officials] are on the scene. Premier Ntombela has called [on] the community not to panic as the provincial disaster team has been activated to the affected area," Chubisi said.

READ | Jagersfontein disaster: 2 people still missing, rivers polluted as residents warned to avoid sludge

However, Jagersfontein Developments denies that another dam wall collapsed.

"Officials from the Department responsible for environmental affairs were on site with Jagersfontein Developments representatives today Wednesday) to deal with storm water flows through an adjacent dam as a result of rainfall on Sunday and Monday.

"Due to the incident which occurred on 11 September 2022, the storm water is flowing in areas where tailings have spilled," the company said in a statement.

More than two weeks ago, hundreds of residents were left homeless after the first dam wall collapsed in Jagersfontein.

Ralehana Aaron Mosoeu, 78, died in the disaster. Mantele Mokhali, 50, and Shadrack Williams, 70, are still missing.

The sludge wiped out 164 backyard vegetable gardens.

Fourteen smallholder and commercial farmers on 29 farms were left devastated after the Prosesspruit and Kromellenboogspruit rivers they live along were polluted.

Damage to vehicle by flood sludge
Michael Maena looks at a vehicle that was ruined in the earlier floods at Jagersfontein.

According to a report released by Ntombela's office last week, "the extent of the damage to grazing land (excluding the area around the river) is estimated at 2 615 hectares, while grazing that has been destroyed on commonage land is estimated at 250 hectares".

"At this stage, more than 2 000 hectares will need to be rehabilitated before it can be suitable for grazing again. Access roads to farms need to be rebuilt, while some farmers have attempted to clear up low-water bridges to ensure easy access to farms," the report read.

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