Johannesburg – South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday vowed his government would launch an investigation into a deadly weekend mine dam burst that wounded dozens and displaced many.
The mine damn collapse caused floods that covered roads and swept away houses and cars in Jagersfontein in central South Africa, killing at least one person and hundreds of animals.
National electricity utility Eskom said Jagersfontein was left without power after one of its substations was “engulfed by the mud”.
“This is an accident. Some you think it’s a man-made accident. We are going to investigate,” Ramaphosa told residents after visiting the disaster-struck town located about 520 kilometres (323 miles) southwest of the economic hub of Johannesburg.
“There has been extensive damage,” he said, adding at least 51 houses had been completely destroyed.
Four people are missing and 23 were hospitalised, Lindiwe Mnguni, a provincial government spokeswoman, told AFP.
Ramaphosa promised government aid to the affected.
“The government is going to be here, working with you and walking this journey with you,” he said.
Television footage showed a river of mud and water flowing away from the disused diamond mine and into a nearby residential area.
More than 200 animals died in the disaster according the town’s Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).
So far 568 animals have been rescued, and roughly 40 percent of them were “euthanised humanely” after ingesting too much mud, SPCA’s Reinet Meyer told AFP over the phone.
“We are not sure how many animals have died in total because many are still stuck under the mud which is quite deep,” she said.
Rescued animals included dogs, cats and wild reptiles such as snakes.
Picture: Twitter/ @Moses_Buju