A dam collapse at the Jagersfontein mine has had some fatal consequences. Harmful slime, stored in what was thought to be a safe facility, breached the walls and flooded an unsuspecting local community. Now, Johann Rupert’s name is literally being dragged through the mud.
Johann Rupert ‘sold Jagersfontein assets’ earlier this year
That’s because he has been implicated in a row about the dam’s ownership. Initially, it was believed that De Beers owned the mine – but they have denied having any control over the location, claiming that it had sold Jagersfontein 12 years ago.
This was allegedly purchased by Jagersfontein Holdings, who are part of Reinet Investments. This Luxembourg-based financial vehicle is run by none other than South Africa’s richest citizen, Johann Rupert. However, this isn’t where the ownership trail ends.
Back in April 2022, a Dubai-based company called Stargems purchased the processing site from Jagersfontein Holdings. So or the last five months, Johann Rupert has had no stake in the mine or its dam… but does that absolve him of responsibility?
SA’s richest men dragged into row over Free State disaster
It’s also worth noting that Nicky Oppenheimer, the SECOND richest man in South Africa, was the heir to the De Beers fortune. He sold his stake in the mining operation over a decade ago. With investigations now ongoing, we may have to wait before we witness any real accountability.
The flooding has claimed three lives, and roughly 40 people were admitted into different hospitals. Upwards of 70 people suffered various injuries, and around 30 homes were either swept away completely destroyed. Farmers also lost cattle, while others were covered in mud.
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has activated a National Disaster Management Centre in the area. This is to bring support to the victims of the devastating floods. The slime which covered the area and surrounding neighbourhoods was identified as ‘toxic waste’.