The leadership and members of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) have extended their “heartfelt condolences” to the families who have lost loved ones and belongings following the wall collapse of the Jagersfontein mine dam, in the Free State, at the weekend, and wished those who were injured a speedy recovery.
“We understand that investigations are under way with the appointment of a task team to determine the cause of the incident and the extent of the damage. The relevant officials are still assessing the total damage to infrastructure.
"While we await the findings of the investigation, this incident highlights the importance of investing in maintenance of existing infrastructure in South Africa, which SAICE continues to be a strong advocate for,” the entity says.
It posits that, through collaborative efforts and refocusing on how priorities are managed, solutions can be found collaboratively to mitigate challenges experienced by municipalities and owners of infrastructure.
“We can avoid many man-made disasters if we start working together to steer funds towards regular maintenance by trained engineers,” it says.
SAICE notes that, while government builds capacity, there is a need for interim measures to ensure civil infrastructure investment and maintenance are monitored and audited.
“Instead of infrastructure deteriorating soon after completion, we need to build infrastructure to last, while also prioritising maintenance of aging infrastructure. We need to work on standardisation for durable infrastructure across South Africa.
SAICE says it has representation at the affected site in the Free State and that it is also evaluating the damage.
"We eagerly await the outcome of the investigations. We are available, and on call, to assist in advising relevant stakeholders of a way forward in addressing these critical matters,” it adds.