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President to visit Jagersfontein disaster area as Gift of the Givers arrives with supplies

By Nokwanda Dlangamandla

Emergency services are working around the clock in the devastated Jagersfontein in the Free State after a dam wall collapsed in the early hours of Sunday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa was to visit the disaster site today after a flash flood killed three people, damaged residential properties, cut off all electricity supply to the town, and rendered cellphone towers non-operational.

Aid organisation Gift of the Givers arrived on the scene with emergency supplies, and we spoke to radio Islam international and discussed with the founder Dr Imtiaz Sooliman.

According to Sooliman, people’s homes were destroyed, others completely disappeared, and people’s cars and personal belongings were all gone due to the collapsed dam.

More than five hundred people working in the mine are afraid that they might lose their jobs.

Sooliman confirmed that three bodies were discovered, and more than 60 people were rushed to the hospital.

He added that many animals had been washed away or ill from the area’s toxic sludge.

Sooliman said the Eskom power was knocked out due to the destroyed infrastructure, and cellphone towers were also affected.

Sooliman warned of the danger of the toxic floods moving to the rivers.

He said some people who lost their homes were forced to Bloemfontein, but some refused to complain that it was too far.

Sooliman commended the government and the search rescue teams for the quick response.

Sooliman said they donated water, ready-made food, and blankets to the affected and displaced families, and they were moved to a local community hall and church.

He said he could not give a definite number on how many people were impacted and needed aid, but they attended to about 500 people at the community hall.

He added that the primary need for the people was water, as no one could survive without it.

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