Earthquake: Aftershocks imminent

Geoscientists are warning of potential aftershocks in the days to come.

North West Premier Supra Mahumapelo visits the site of the earthquake in Khuma township, Stilfontein. Picture: Sebabatso Mosamo/EWN

KHUMA, North West - As government begins to assess the damage in parts of South Africa after the earthquake, geoscientists are warning of potential aftershocks in the days to come.

The earthquake, which measured 5.5 on the Richter Scale, has also raised concern about the effects of fracking, as well as mining.

But experts say it was not induced by either.

The Council for Geoscience's Michelle Grobbelaar says, "There's a rule of thumb that if you experience an earthquake with a certain magnitude in the past, you can always expect an earthquake of a similar magnitude in that same area."

Residents in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, the Free State and as far as Botswana felt it.

One woman says, "When the windows started rattling, I thought it was the wind."

Another woman says, "I thought someone was on my roof."

Emergency services have been place on high alert.


Hundreds of families in the North West have been taken to a place of safety after their homes were severely damaged by the quake.

The 5.5 magnitude earthquake was centred in Orkney, an area with a high concentration of deep gold mines.

Disaster management officials have had their hands full in the Khuma township, evacuating families from their damaged homes.

Officials spent the night assisting residents move their furniture and belongings from their now unstable structures.

One woman says she was at home with her four-month-old grandchild when her walls started to shake.

"I thought the world was coming to an end, an earthquake didn't even cross my mind. I thought the world was going to swallow us."

The tremor has left hundreds of homes with broken windows and doors, as well as gaping cracks in the walls.

Disaster management officials have also been summoned to assist the extent of damage and provide further help to the affected families.

Meanwhile ,the North West health department says the earthquake caused severe damage to three clinics in Klerksdorp.

Two of the clinics, Stilfontein and Parkstreet, have had to be shut down as a result.

The third facility, which is under the administration of a mine in Stilfontein, is currently being renovated and was expected to open its doors today.

As a temporary measure, the department has arranged to ferry patients to nearby health facilities through the use of shuttles.

Watch: Earthquake: Residents in Khuma shaken

The earthquake claimed one life, injured 21 people and has affected hundreds of families near its epicentre.

ER24'S Werner Vermaak said the man, believed to be in his 30's, was killed by a wall that collapsed.

It sent shockwaves across and beyond the country with the North West hardest hit.

The earthquake also triggered evacuations in large parts of the country.

Meanwhile, AngloGold Ashanti says it is assessing the impact of the damage caused by the earthquake at its mines.

At least 21 workers were injured and more than 3,000 had to be hoisted out of the company's Great Noligwa and Moab Khotsong operations in the Vaal.

Production was also suspended.

AngloGold's Stewart Bailey says, "The focus is on safety and bringing everyone to the surface safely. Following an event like this, you want to also make sure what the impact has been on your infrastructure."

Images: Google Earth, ER24, Twitter, EWN