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Media Statement: The South African Human Rights Commission reflects on Jagersfontein in Free State following the devastating disaster caused by a mine dam collapse

15 September 2022

Attention: Editors and Reporters

A mine dam collapse on Sunday 11 September 2022 caused flooding in the Charlesville and Itumeleng residential areas of Jagersfontein. The collapse caused large volumes of slime to engulf and destroy homes and properties of over 300 residents. At least one person reportedly died in the disaster.

The South African Human Rights Commission (“the Commission”) visited the areas on Monday, 12 and Tuesday, 13 September 2022 to assess the situation first hand.  The Commission commends the urgency of the relief efforts unlocked by government, the mining company (“Jagersfontein Developments”) as well as other entities to reduce the impact of the disaster on the affected communities.  Earlier this week, the Commission appeared before the Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy where it raised concerns around mining, its related impact on human rights and the need for greater parliamentary oversight in the extractive industries.  

Mining communities have been raising environmental concerns regarding underlying negative impacts of mining activities in their areas for a long period of time. While the Commission continues to monitor the implementation of the relief efforts, it also welcomes reported commitment to a full investigation by government to establish the cause of the collapse. The investigation is also expected to identify and recommend preventative, corrective and accountability measures to address this disaster.

The Commission remains concerned about the continued impacts on the environment and to communities associated with the extractive industry. These concerns were to some extent ventilated in its reports into the Underlying Socio-Economic Challenges on Mining-affected Communities in South Africa (2018), following extensive national hearings conducted during 2016. The recommendations by the Commission regarding the safety hazards posed by unused and neglected mines to children and communities in their surrounds is but one issue of concern flagged by the Commission in its report. Noting with particular concern that the direct impacts to property and security are not isolated adverse impacts, but extend to a number of related human rights, including the provision of alternative housing, food, water, healthcare, access to schools, access to a safe and healthy environment and other concerns of the affected victims. The Commission intends engaging with the mining company, the community and government to find short term to long term solutions to support efforts toward the protection of human rights.


For further information contact SAHRC Free State Provincial Manager - Mr Thabang Kheswa on Tel: 076 038 4507 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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