President Cyril Ramaphosa has pledged government’s support for the communities of Jagersfontein and Charlesville.
This follows the tragic mudslide, which caused extensive damage to homes, injuries to several community members and claimed the life of at least one person over the weekend.
The mudslide was caused when the dam wall of a local unused mine broke during the early hours of Sunday morning.
The President arrived in the area on Monday afternoon and addressed community members, interacted with volunteers and visited some of those who were injured during the disaster.
“We are a government that cares for its people, it’s not something we just talk about. We have come here to assure you that we will do all we can to ensure that what has been lost here is brought back. We are here to give you total support.
“Some of you have lost homes, you have lost your belongings and you’ve lost your cars. There has been extensive damage which I saw with my own eyes. We are truly thankful that not many people died during the tragedy but we are also heartbroken for those who have been injured.
“I want you to know that all of the departments have come together. When all the government departments work together, they can really address a terrible situation that has happened to our people.”
President Ramaphosa said although government would do all it can to assist the residents, private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are needed to boost the relief response.
“[The] private sector, government and NGOs working together should be able to produce really good and positive results for the people here. Already we are looking at the situation of housing here…houses have been completely washed away. Engineers – on a preliminary basis – are saying that it’s not safe to rebuild here.
“So we’ve got to find ground, we’ve got to find ways of rebuilding their homes. We’ve also got to work within the parameters of what government limitations are in terms of laying out resources for our people and that’s where private sector involvement is going to be a great boost for us,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said the District Development Model will assist government to quickly identify the needs of the community and serve them.
“This is where the District Development Model brings together our various layers of government including our departments at national and provincial level to really come into their own. This is where we test the efficacy of the District Development Model.
“And I have been very pleased with the report that I got today…it shows and demonstrates that the District Development Model does work and can work and must be strengthened. So we’re putting to great test here and the implementation thereof will yield really positive results in terms of our ability to deal with this disaster,” he said.
Mineral Resources and Energy department Minister Gwede Mantashe is expected to visit the area on Tuesday to interact not only with the community but also the company responsible for the dam.