Around 14 silos filled with 11 500 tons of canola seeds collapsed on the premises of the Sentraal-Suid Koöperasie (SSK) in Swellendam on Tuesday morning (1 December 2015).

“About 08h30 this morning I received a call from one personnel. I rushed down there and when I arrived 14 silos were down,” the chief executive of the co-operative, Erenst Pelser, said.

“Fortunately no personnel were injured and that’s actually a miracle. Luckily, they were on the other side of the premises, busy on the wheat and barley side.”

A team of engineers were expected in Swellendam on Wednesday morning to investigate the cause of the collapse, and also to advise the agricultural co-operative how it could recover the canola seeds.

“Our first priority is to recover the seeds on the ground. I think it is possible, but we must first be advised by the engineers on how to do it because there’s a possibility that the other silos could collapse,” Pelser said.

Eight of the metal silos are still standing.

The seeds were destined for the Southern Oils factory to manufacture canola oil.

Pelser said they were currently looking for alternative sites to store the seeds if they are recovered.

“We have storage space in Ashton and are looking for alternative sites to store the seeds,” he said.

Pelser said there was currently no danger of supply to Southern Oils being compromised.

“Even if we can’t recover the canola seeds, there’s more than enough canola left to supply to factory.”