Residents blame billionaire for Jagersfontein disaster – by Manyane Manyane (Sunday Independent – September 18, 2022)

Johannesburg – Billionaire Johann Rupert has been accused of intimidating and bribing residents and employees after they raised concerns regarding the dam wall which collapsed at Jagersfontein Development. At least four people were killed and more than 70 others injured following the collapse of the dam last Sunday, leaving scores of people homeless.

Jagersfontein Development employees and residents said Rupert could have stabilised the dam long before it collapsed, but opted to do nothing. Instead, he allegedly bribed community leaders who raised concerns regarding the potential danger to the community. They said the dam had been leaking for years.

In April 2022, Rupert’s Reinet Investments sold Jagersfontein assets to Stargems Holdings, a global diamond cutting, and polishing company. Community leader Lefa Shale said they had been warning the company since 2019, but instead of the mine stabilising the dam, the then owner (Rupert) allegedly offered bribes to some of the community leaders.

“The bribery is not an allegation, it is a fact. I am a community leader and I know about some of the leaders who were bribed. The community would raise these concerns and ask leaders to organise a meeting with Rupert.

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