The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in the Free State this week commemorated the first anniversary of the Jaggersfontein Dam Disaster. Driving into the town, the gruesome devastation of the disaster is still glaring and indelible.
Our members and the community were handed false hope after an undertaking was made by the Free State Provincial Government to restore their lives. As workers, we are extremely disturbed by the sluggish progress made by the Free State Provincial Government in fulfilling the promises that were made to the community of Itumeleng and Charlesville Townships.
Our engagement with the Free State Provincial Government (FSPG) revealed that only three show houses have been built during the period under review. This is what the government has to show despite the Kopanong Local Municipality availed fifty-four(54) sites for the purpose of the construction of houses. Families whose lives were decimated continues to struggle and there is no movement towards bettering their circumstances and living conditions.
Shockingly, the assessment report is still outstanding. As a result, the extent of the impact of the disaster on the environment and the residents of the town is unknown. We remain concerned about the future of our members and our people in the area who have been exposed to the implications of the dam disaster which may include pulmonary implications as well as a possibility of radiation.
Due to the snail’s pace which FSPG and Kopanong Municipality are moving to address the problems caused by the mudslide, we will be writing a letter to the FSPG to register our discontent over what seems to be apathetic behaviour which is evident in their efforts and to further agitate for a faster pace. Our people’s lives have been hanging in the balance for more than a full year.
Issued by COSATU Free State
For more information, please contact:
Monyatso oa Mahlatsi,Free State Provincial Secretary
Tel: 051 447 5499
Cell:076 115 9923