Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina has called on residents to be patient as roads are closed near the Middle Lake Dam in Benoni following a partial collapse of the dam wall. Picture: City of Ekurhuleni

Port Elizabeth - Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina said on Thursday that the city had averted "imminent danger" when it established a joint operations committee in response to an alert on 23 December that part of a dam wall in Benoni had collapsed.

"A well-coordinated joint operation between all spheres of government ... has helped to avoid a catastrophic disaster that would have cost lives and serious damaged to the infrastructure following the caving in of part of the spillway at Middle Lake Dam in Benoni.

"A call was received by Ekurhuleni Disaster and Emergency Management Services on 23 December ... and a joint operations committee was immediately established on 23 December," a statement said.

Experts from Ekurhuleni City, Gauteng Agriculture and Rural Development, the provincial and national departments of water and sanitation, as well as Rand Water worked together to first divert and then to pump out the water and reduce dam levels, which prevented the dam wall from collapsing completely.

Lowering the dam levels also gives engineers easier access to the damaged slabs for repairs. The measures to stabilise the spillway were temporary and it would take several months to complete the refurbishment, the City said.

The roads near the Middle Lake Dam, including on and off-ramps to N12 via Tom Jones Road and Bunyan Street, remain closed during the operations.

“This is a necessary operation to avert a major disaster. We are calling on people of Ekurhuleni to exercise caution and be patient. Once the siphon suction pumps are in place, road usage will resume,” Masina said.

African News Agency (ANA)